Memorial service for Heath Ledger draws Cruise, DeGeneres

Society Materials 3 February 2008 15:55 (UTC +04:00)
Memorial service for Heath Ledger draws Cruise, DeGeneres

( dpa ) - Friends and colleagues of actor Heath Ledger gathered on Saturday in Hollywood for a memorial service for the Hollywood heartthrob who died unexpectedly last month.

According to the magazine People, actor Tom Cruise, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and director Todd Haynes participated in a ceremony at Sony film studios that was closed to the public.

Haynes directed the Australian-born actor in his Bob Dylan film, "I'm not there."

The 28-year-old actor was found dead on January 22 in his New York apartment. A final autopsy report on the causes of his sudden death has not yet been released.

Ledger is to be buried this week in his home town of Perth.

On Friday, his estranged partner Michelle Williams, 27, mother of their only child together, said in her first public reaction to Ledger's death that her heart was "broken."

"I am the mother of the most tender-hearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl, who is the spitting image of her father," Williams said in the statement.

"All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day. His family and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals and takes steps two at a time and we know that he is with us still," she said.

The pair fell in love on the set of the Academy-Award-winning Brokeback Mountain. Ledger played the role of a man in conflict between his marital obligations to a woman portrayed by Williams and his lifelong passion for a fellow cowboy.

The film, directed by Ang Lee, provoked controversy as a mainstream film about a homosexual love affair.

Ledger's edgy talent made him a top Hollywood heartthrob, but he shunned the media circus that surrounds young performers. He and Williams, 27, chose to live in Brooklyn, New York, to await the birth of their child, Matilda, in 2005 rather than settle in Hollywood.

Ledger had reportedly been in bad spirits since his October split from Williams, which was caused by Ledger's use of cocaine and other drugs, People magazine reported.

Ledger was an Oscar nominee for his role in Brokeback Mountain. He starred in The Patriot, Monster's Ball, A Knight's Tale, The Brothers Grimm and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Ledger's latest project was in the forthcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight, in which his performance as The Joker has generated considerable buzz.