Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last Laugh

Heath Ledger, dead at 28.

Well, that's a surprise.

I'm assuming that since the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was still filming, and that The Dark Knight is in post-production, that the Dark Knight will wind up being his final movie and the Joker his last finished role.

Whether his death turns out to have been suicide or an accident, it's certainly going to lend even more gravitas (and pathos) to his portrayal of the nihilistic Joker, the role that was expected to put him on a whole new level as an actor.

Naturally, Ledger's had quite a few interesting roles, even for one who was so young. But for those of us who are comic book fans, this is surely be the one that will matter most. There are only a handful of people who've portrayed the Joker: the effervescent Cesar Romero, the unpredictable Mark Hamill, the predictable Jack Nicholson, the reliable Ted Knight, the remarkable Kevin Michael Richardson, and, now,

the late Heath Ledger.

I welcome his forthcoming addition to his own legacy and that of the role of the Joker.


Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, I hated Caesar Romero as the Joker because his unwillingness to shave off his moustache showed a certain lack of appreciation for Joker sanctity.

As an adult, I love the Romero Joker, and that business with the moustache is just part of some big cosmic joke.

By the way, Scipio, have you ever seen "The Man Who Laughs," with Conrad Veidt?

Heath Ledger, R.I.P

Scipio said...

Yes, I have seen it. Still the most terrifying "Joker" visual of all time.

Anonymous said...

Such a shame that a young, talented guy leaves us so soon. A friend of mine called me at work today to tell me about it. Even though I hated Heath's Joker makeup, I was still looking forward to seeing what he did with the role.

Here's hoping he knocked it out of the park.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I don't like about Ledger's Batman makeup is that I keep thinking he's Val Kilmer.

Anonymous said...

From the minute I first saw Ledger's Joker makeup, I knew there was something "off" about it. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, until my wife saw it and pointed it out to me. Now, whenever I see it, I can't think of anything else.

He looks like Beetlejuice.

That aside, it's tragic when anyone is taken from this world so young, especially when they leave a child behind. Let us hold his family in the light.

Anonymous said...

Ted Knight? I assume you're referring to the 1960s cartoon, yes? Dear sir, that was none other than Larry Storch.

Anonymous said...

Ted Knight? I assume you're referring to the 1960s cartoon, yes? Dear sir, that was none other than Larry Storch.

I'll be a son of a Donna Troy. I never knew that, but I checked IMDb and you're right. I always thought Ted Knight did all the male voices on that show except Batman and Robin. Storch certainly isn't in the show's credits. Wow! Next you'll be telling me the Riddler wasn't Ted Knight doing a bad James Cagney impression, but John Byner doing a bad James Cagney impression.

Anonymous said...

What a tragedy. From the look of it at this point, Ledger may have accidentally killed himself with pills.

Scipio said...

Regardless of what IMDB says, that is not Larry Storch.

Listen to any of the episodes on YouTube; it is clearly Ted Knight. He's adding a "rasp" to his voice that is vaguely reminiscent of Storch, but it's not Storch.

Even if you do not know Knight's (very famous) voice already, simply listen to the Joker voice compared to the voice of the aliens Aquaman fought in his cartoon. You'll be able to hear that it is the same person, right down to his unusual vowels (particularly when combined with "r" as in "turn", "charge", or "fire").

I assume that someone not familiar with Knight's voice work heard the voice, decided it was Storch, and listed it accordingly.

But I wouldn't believe that wasn't Knight even if Knight came back from the dead and told me it wasn't.

Kristopher said...

It cannot succeed as a matter of fact, that's what I suppose.
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