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Lohan offers words of condolence to Altman's family: 'Be adequite'

There are those who have been moved to great eloquence and passion by the death of the eminent film director Robert Altman. And then there is Lindsay Lohan.

The 20-year-old actress, who scored a part in Altman's last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, made the interesting decision to go public with a condolence letter she wrote to the Altman family in the wake of his death from cancer last week. The passion was certainly there - she, like many dozens of actors before her, clearly adored the experience of working in Altman's characteristic freeform style - but the letter was also spectacular in its incoherence and disregard of basic grammar and spelling.

"I am lucky enough to of been able to work with Robert Altman amongst the other greats on a film that I can genuinely say created a turning point in my career," she began, less than certainly. "He was the closest thing to my father and grandfather that I really do believe I've had in several years... He left us with a legend that all of us have the ability to do." A little lower down, she fell into improv philosophy, apparently riffing on the notion that life is too short to waste: "Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves' (12st book) - everytime there's a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on. - altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come." And she signed off, "Be adequite. Lindsay Lohan."

The letter has become the talk of Hollywood since its release over the weekend. Was the actress on a misguided - and utterly botched - quest for publicity, exploiting the death of a revered director for her own purposes? Had she been on one of her legendary party benders? Or was this Exhibit A for the indictment of America's education system?

Lohan fans sought to argue that the letter really was not that incoherent after all - the errors no worse than the average teenage e-mail exchange.

Patt Morrison, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, begged to differ, calling the letter "alarmingly incoherent" and questioning what it was Lohan had learnt at the Long Island schools that gave her straight As.

"As for the brilliant Mr Altman himself," Ms Morrison added, "I suspect he might find sardonic comedic potential in all of this."