Heath Ledger, Actor, Father Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at age 28 in his Manhattan apartment. Police reports say prescription drugs were found near his body.

Heath Ledger, Actor, Father

Heath Ledger, Actor, Father

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Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at age 28 in his Manhattan apartment. Police reports say prescription drugs were found near his body.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT - news, information, economic stimulator, so to speak.

I'm Alison Stewart, back here in the chair in New York City.

Joining me today is our guest host. You know him. You love him. Toure. Hey.

TOURE, host:


STEWART: Thanks for coming in.

TOURE: Sure. Thanks for having me once again. It's Wednesday, January 23, 2008. And Alison and I just barely missed each other at Sundance.

STEWART: I know. I think I was locked in some screening room. And then I heard my guys, Jacob and Wyn, say, oh, we just saw Toure. And who were you going to interview?

TOURE: Kim Kardashian.

STEWART: Oh, my gosh.

TOURE: And that was awesome. She is gorgeous.

STEWART: She's a beautiful girl.

TOURE: Yeah.

STEWART: A funny story about that. We were driving up mainstream in Park City and you kind of feel like, oh, there's Stanley Tucci. There's Paul Giamatti -like, all these sort of well-known actors. And I rolled down the window, and all we heard in the room was Kardashian…

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STEWART: …literally.

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TOURE: Yeah, she's smoking.

STEWART: Yeah. So we're back from Sundance. We did a whole bunch of interviews there. And I talked with two filmmakers: David and Nathan Zellner. They're the director and producer and editor of this film called "Goliath." It's one of these small films that Sundance is really about. So we'll talk to them a little about making their movie and what was it like to have their first feature at Sundance.

TOURE: I did Sundance wrong. I did not buy tickets before I got there. I saw nothing. That's not how you do it.

STEWART: No, exactly. I'm with you. We'll trade notes on that.

Also this hour, the economy. The Fed cut the interest rate by three quarters of a percentage point. So what does that mean for you?

TOURE: Anyone? Anyone?

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TOURE: Bueller? Bueller?

STEWART: Bueller? Kelly Evans with the Wall Street Journal is here to answer your questions on the Fed interest rate cut, and all of this news about the economy.

TOURE: Also, a rather large woman, who was tired of the way fat people are treated, launched an experiment. She created a fake book cover that said, fat is contagious, and got on a bus to see what would happen. She's in the studio with her results.

STEWART: We'll also go to Rachel Martin for today's headlines in just a minute.

But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

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STEWART: Academy Award-nominee Heath Ledger is dead. According to reports, the 28-year-old Australian actor's body was found Tuesday afternoon, face down at the foot of a bed in a Manhattan apartment he'd been renting.

TOURE: A bottle of sleeping pills was found next to his bed, but the cause of death remains unknown. Please do not suspect foul play. Ledger's body was discovered by a housekeeper and a masseuse, who had a regular appointment with him. His father, Kim, addressed the media yesterday outside the family's home in Perth in Western Australia.

STEWART: Mr. Ledger also called his son's death, quote, "Tragic, untimely and accidental." Heath Ledger leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter, Matilda. Her mother is his former fiancee, American actress, Michelle Williams. The couple lived a low-key life in Brooklyn, New York, but separated last September. By all accounts of neighbors, Ledger was a doting dad.

Here, he describes fatherhood in a 2005 interview with the Associated Press.

Mr. HEATH LEDGER (Actor): It's definitely my greatest achievement. And I now feel kind of connected to something a lot bigger than me. And it's beautiful. And there's something cosmic about it.

TOURE: Yeah, I can understand that. Ledger became a Hollywood heartthrob when he starred in a 1999 film, "10 Things I Hate about You." But he joined the A-list and showed what a great actor he was with his 2005 portrayal of a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain."

STEWART: As the news of Ledger's death broke yesterday afternoon, the hype machine went into overdrive. Celebrity-tracking sites like Gawker and DListed.com quickly became jammed with traffic.

Fans and paparazzi flocked to the SoHo apartment building where he was living. TMZ.com even offered a live video stream of the circus growing outside of the building. And, of course, the rumors began to fly. First, reports that apartment belonged to tabloid targets, the Olsen twins - not true. Then, there was a lot of confusion over where exactly Ledger was found: in his bed or on the floor.

TOURE: The best reports now tell us the housekeeper and the masseuse initially found him in bed, moved him to the floor while trying to revive him. That's why the police found him on the floor.

STEWART: An autopsy is scheduled for today, according to the medical examiner's office.

TOURE: Funeral arrangements have not been announced. Ledger was in the process of filming a movie with Terry Gilliam called "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." And he recently completed filming of the new Batman flick, "The Dark Knight," in which he plays the Joker. That movie's going to come out this summer, and it'll be a bit macabre watching him play the tormented Joker.

STEWART: That is the BPP's Big Story.

Now, here is Rachel Martin with even more news.

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