An intimate memorial for Heath Ledger, attended by immediate family and close friends including former girlfriend Naomi Watts, was held in Los Angeles on Saturday night just hours after the actor’s death was marked at a New York event.
A discreet 30-minute service was held at Westwood Village Memorial Park, Australia’s Channel 7 reports, during which Watts was “visibly upset.”
Around 8 p.m. that evening, a small gathering of black-dressed mourners, including the Australian actress, was seen in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel for a private event, a source said. Ledger’s rep had said that no public memorial was planned for Los Angeles.
Earlier, about 1,000 guests at an Australian event in New York heard a message from Ledger’s father, Kim Ledger, read by Australia’s consul-general.
“Heath did not become an actor for the fame or fortune. He loved his craft and he loved helping his friends. He loved chess and skateboarding too,” said the letter read to guests at the G’Day USA Australia Day Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. “My image of Heath in New York is him with his skateboard, a canvas bag and his beanie. That was Heath to me.”
But mostly, Kim wrote, “Heath is and always will be an Australian.”
Kim, Ledger’s mother Sally and sister Kate were in Los Angeles on Saturday awaiting arrival of the actor’s body from New York, The Age reports. Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment on Tuesday. A cause of death has not been determined.
According to several Australian news reports, a memorial and burial in Ledger’s hometown of Perth are also expected.
The Los Angeles memorial was first reported by Entertainment Tonight.