My family and I are so saddened tonight. We just read the headlines that actor Heath Ledger has died. I didn't know this young man personally, but a couple of his movies have brought alot of entertainment to our family. One of my favorite movies of all time is A Knight's Tale. It's not deep, yet it is. It had no really earth shattering message...yet it did. The whole thing was a case study in contrasts. So I'm very sad to think that this shining star has burned out so early. He will be missed.

And now I have to vent. This tragedy comes on the heals of another young Hollywood death, that of Brad Renfro, also from an overdose, if I'm not mistaken. And that one after the attempted suicide of actor Owen Wilson. It's going to be interesting to find out what the authorities decide about Mr. Ledger's death--whether it was accidental or a planned suicide. On one hand, I'd like to believe it was an accident, but how tragic is that? However, knowing the track record of Hollywood and the movie industry in general (in other words, not leaving out Hollywood's international siblings in movie making. We Americans really shouldn't hog ALL the blame, now should we?), it would not surprise me in the least if this was no accident at all. I think Hollywood et al needs to wake up and take a good look in the mirror. What is wrong that these people, who seem to have it made, would find life not worth living? Or then, too difficult to face without the help of drugs or alcohol. We've all seen what fame and fortune has done to Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan. And I don't think it's fair to put the whole blame on the parents. In the long haul, Hollywood is going to have alot to answer for. I don't believe it was ever a place that truly welcomed God, but I don't think in the past they made Him as much an outcast as now. Oh, there were problems. Broken marriages. Drugs and drinking. Marilyn Monroe comes to mind, as well as Dorothy Dandridge. I know there are plenty of others, but I won't spend alot of time on that right now. Suffice it to say, there's a huge problem, and I think it should be dealt with. How? I don't know. But it really bothers me that these are the people our young kids look up to and want to emulate. I cringe when I think that my beautiful fifteen year old aspires to some day become an actress. My twelve year old has also begun to show signs of the same desires. Whether stage or TV and movie, it doesn't matter. I don't think life on Broadway is a whole lot less complicated than in Hollywood.

Now someone could point out the good ones. The ones whose lives weren't torn to bits by the lifestyle that goes hand in hand with acting. I mean, look at Mel Gibson who is still married to the same woman after so many years. Yeah, right. LOOK at Mel. He's one of my favorite actors, and I admire the fact that he's still married to the same woman. I admire the fact he had the guts to make movies like The Patriot and The Passion of the Christ (but hey, what's with Apocalypto??? Woops...rabbit trailing here.) But he still lives with the consequences of a life of alcohol abuse.

What about Hillary Duff and Miley Cyrus? Well, time will tell, won't it? Already we see Duff heading toward the sensual and the obsession of all of Hollywood to stay overly thin. Miley is young, but even she's veering too much toward the sensual for my taste in a young pop star/actress of fifteen. Where will she be in ten years? I hope for the best, but I won't hold my breath.

In this whole grim Hollywood picture comes a touch of the name of Michael Landon, Jr. Now there's a guy to admire...if he's able to keep up the testimony and the good work.

Rest in peace, Heath Ledger. You're missed already. And I hope that your death will serve as a final warning that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. But then the old adage comes to mind of the blind leading the blind. They probably won't get very far.


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