An impostor who pretended to be Heath Ledger's grieving father was consoled by Tom Cruise in a telephone call, and almost persuaded John Travolta to buy him a plane ticket to the United States, it was reported today.
The scammer also tricked staff at the New York funeral home where Ledger's body was being held into booking rooms at the nearby luxury Carlyle Hotel, police sources said.
The man falsely claiming to be his father also spoke on the phone with the doctor who performed the autopsy on Australian star, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed to the New York Post.
Police now hope to arrest the con man on fraud and larceny charges. But police do not know the identity of the impostor. The hoax began soon after Ledger was found dead in his SoHo apartment.
By the next day, a man claiming to be Kim Ledger managed to get Cruise on the phone, a source said. Over the next few days, he "had had a couple of conversations with" Cruise, asking for emotional support, said the source.
But Cruise abruptly cut him off when he learned "he was an impostor," the source said.
Travolta's publicist Samantha Mast said: "John spoke with the guy briefly before he realized he was an impostor. "He did not make arrangements to buy him a plane ticket."
But a source insisted Travolta had been "making arrangements to buy [the impostor] a plane ticket from Australia to LA and subsequently to New York."