Private Perth funeral for Australia's Ledger

Society Materials 9 February 2008 13:09 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Hollywood stars mixed with friends and family at a memorial service in Perth on Saturday for Australian actor Heath Ledger.

The service for more than 500 invited mourners in Ledger's west coast hometown was followed by a private funeral for the Brokeback Mountain star.

"It's a pretty sad time and we're finding it difficult to cope by ourselves, let alone with everybody around the world," the actor's father, Kim Ledger, told reporters. "Having said that, we do really appreciate the outpouring and the emotional support from all over the globe."

Ledger, 28, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on January 22 from an accidental overdose of a cocktail of six different prescription drugs.

Michelle Williams, whom Ledger met on the set of Brokeback Mountain and who is the mother of his 2-year-old daughter Matilda, attended the service alone. Williams, 27, separated from Ledger late last year.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who also appeared in Brokeback Mountain and is godfather to Matilda, was on the guest list but was not spotted by reporters.

A mourner said actor Cate Blanchett "gave a funny and moving eulogy about their times spent together" - a reference to I'm Not There, a film biography of Bob Dylan in which Ledger and Blanchett were among six incarnations of the singer-songwriter.

Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' was played and a film shown of vignettes from Ledger's life.

Local media reported that Ledger's body was cremated after the private funeral service. Mourners were invited to a restaurant on Cottesloe Beach that was a favourite with the Oscar-nominated actor.

The programme for the funeral service read: "This room is filled with the love we all felt for a great friend who will be missed by all of us. We want to thank those of you who took care of him and participated in his beautiful life."