The reclusive American Beauty star makes a rare statement to pay tribute to his friend
Credit: Shooting Star

The reclusive actor Wes Bentley made a rare public statement Tuesday to remember his friend Heath Ledger as a “man who spread so much spark to so many people.”

Capitalizing letters for emphasis, the American Beauty star described Ledger, who was found dead last week, as “a Vibrant Man, a Brave Actor, a Passionate Father and a Friend Forever.”

“Heath was an essential piece of my Life,” wrote Bentley, 29, who costarred with Ledger in 2002’s Four Feathers. “At one point we were as close as two people could get without being blood. That closeness came from sharing a similar, life-altering experience in life at a young age where very few could relate and those who could often were pre-occupied with competition. It would have been isolating, not to mention boring, without him.”

Added Bentley, who didn’t make another film until five years after Four Feathers, “I don’t know if I could have come back without him.”

In fact it was because of Bentley turning down a part that Ledger got one of his breakthrough roles: that of the suicidal prison guard’s son in Monster’s Ball.

“(Wes) was signed up to play that part and he pulled out in the last minute because he really doesn’t like to work that much,” Ledger said in 2005. “I think they were threatening to sue him. So he asked me to do this for him to get him out of trouble. It was a great opportunity for me and I took it. It was a nice gift from Wes.”

In his statement, Bentley urged people to “resist our routine chore of dwelling on a celebrities moments at Death, taking what is essentially inconsequential to a man’s definition and making it his Legacy.”

“While most of us forget we’re alive and are dead on our feet, Heath woke up everyday excited about what was out there to enjoy,” wrote Bentley. “He lived in a way that spread so much spark to so many people every day he had. Heath not only lived for himself, if he could’ve he would Lived for all of us as well. That was his way.”

The Arkansas-born Bentley, who parents are both Methodist Ministers, concluded his statement with, “My Prayers are with all who loved him, his Family, Michelle, and Matilda.”