Police: Masseuse called Olsen twin before 911
Medical examiner says further tests needed to determine cause of death
NEW YORK - A massage therapist who discovered a lifeless Heath Ledger in his Manhattan apartment made her first call to actress Mary-Kate Olsen, according to an in-depth timeline police released Wednesday of the moments surrounding the Australian-born actor’s death.
According to The New York Times, New York City police officials said the massage therapist, Diana Wolozin, called Olsen, a friend of Ledger’s, twice before calling 911.
Representatives of Olsen told msnbc.com that they have no comment on The Times’ report.
Police said Ledger probably died sometime between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday of what authorities say may be an accidental drug overdose.
Authorities found six different types of prescription drugs in Ledger’s apartment, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe.
Ledger’s housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, arrived at his apartment with her own key and let herself in. At 1 p.m., she went to his bedroom to change a light bulb, and saw Ledger sleeping naked, lying face down in the bed with the sheets pulled up to his shoulders, and heard him snoring, according to a report from The New York Times. She left the room without thinking anything was wrong.
At 2:45 p.m., Wolozin showed up for her appointment with Ledger, who didn’t answer when she knocked on his door. She then tried to call him on his cell phone, but again got no response. She went into the bedroom, set up her massage table and again tried to wake Ledger.
Wolozin told police that Ledger was cold to the touch, but she just assumed he was unconscious. She proceeded to grab his cell phone and call Olsen, whose number is programmed into the speed dial on the phone. Wolozin knew that the “Full House” star and Ledger were friends, and she asked Olsen for advice on what she should do next.
Olsen, who also lives in Manhattan but was in California at the time, responded by saying she would send over her private security guards to help deal with the situation. In the ensuing moments, Wolozin realized that the situation was serious and called Olsen again to say she was calling for help, reports The Times. Wolozin called 911 at 3:26 p.m.
The emergency operator provided Wolozin directions on how to do CPR, but it was too late.
Paramedics — and one of Olsen’s security guards — arrived at 3:33 p.m. Rescue workers then moved Ledger’s body to the floor and used a defibrillator and CPR. The actor was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m., reports The Times.
Numerous messages left at telephone numbers listed to Wolozin and Solomon were not returned Wednesday.
Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, said the autopsy on the 28-year-old actor was inconclusive and that more would be known in about 10 days, when more tests were completed.
A rolled-up $20 bill was also found on the floor near the Australian actor’s bed, but lab tests detected no traces of drug residue. Police also said no illegal drugs were found in the apartment.
News of the death stunned family, fans and colleagues.
“Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life,” said Ang Lee, who directed Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain.” “He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined — a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking.”
Lee Daniels, who produced the critically acclaimed “Monster’s Ball” in which Ledger starred, strongly disputed any notion that Ledger had a drug problem.
“The definition of substance abuse is really up to one’s perspective,” Daniels said. “I didn’t see him as a drug addict. I saw him as someone who enjoyed life. I know drug addicts, he was not a drug addict.”
He said he saw Ledger a couple months ago and that he was in great spirits. “He was in a good mood, he was in a great place ... he was excited about living in New York.”
Before moving to Manhattan, Ledger lived in Brooklyn with then-girlfriend Michelle Williams in a four-story, sage-green brownstone with a black wrought-iron fence. Yellow tulips with red stripes were among the bouquets left by well-wishers Wednesday.
At the Brawta Caribbean Cafe two blocks from the residence, owner Jennifer Ewers said Ledger was a frequent guest who always ordered jerk chicken, rice and beans, and sorrel.
“He was a perfect gentleman. He comes in here with his hoodie on, reads a book, and gives you a peace sign,” she said. “He was always with his daughter, playing hide-and-seek among the plants, or on his skateboard, peeking his head in.”
Speaking in Australia, Ledger’s father called the death “tragic, untimely and accidental.”
“Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life,” Kim Ledger said. “Please now respect our family’s need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately.”
Fans left flowers and candles Wednesday outside Ledger’s apartment in the tony SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday. Khaled Ali, 41, a stage manager for a Broadway show, dropped off a candle on his way to work, saying he and fellow cast members were devastated.
“I felt a connection with him as an actor, as a fellow in the theater community,” he said. “With ‘Brokeback Mountain’ he touched me personally in telling the story of my community. It was very touching.”
Ledger was known for grueling, intense roles that became his trademark after he got his start in teen movies like “10 Things I Hate About You.” Thereafter, he avoided the easy path in favor of roles that forced him to bury his Australian accent and downplay his leading-man looks: the tormented gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain”; a drug addict in “Candy”; an incarnation of Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There.”
Playing the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie “The Dark Knight,” may be his final finished performance.
Ledger split last year with Williams, who played his wife in “Brokeback.” The two had a daughter, the now 2-year-old Matilda. Early Wednesday, Williams and Matilda left Trollhattan, Sweden, where the 27-year-old actress had been shooting scenes for the upcoming film “Mammoth,” said Martin Stromberg, a spokesman for film production company Memfis Film.
“She received the news at her hotel late last night,” Stromberg said, adding he had not spoken to the actress after she learned of Ledger’s death.
The actor’s personal strife was accompanied by professional anxiety. He said in a November interview that “Dark Knight” and “I’m Not There” took a toll.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” Ledger told The New York Times. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour.
A day after Ledger’s death, at least six TV satellite trucks were parked on the block or around the corner from his Manhattan apartment, with a stream of TV reporters doing their standups. There were bouquets, letters and candles piled in front of the building.
A handwritten letter on plain white paper anchored by votive candles read:
“Heath, how could anyone hate 10 things about you. We couldn’t find one bad thing about you. God bless your soul, you’re in our prayers.”