Generally, I don’t report news like this on the site because I don’t have anything to say when someone dies. Especially someone that I don’t know. But I feel that I must comment on the death of Heath Ledger. He was probably one of my top 5 favorite actors. I loved everything that he’s done, he was always interesting, charismatic and made really good choices. Even when he wasn’t the star of a film and just part of an ensemble cast. Where most young stars play it safe, he took chances and his body of work was really diverse. Heath was found dead in a New York City apartment today. I’m not going to speculate on the cause of death. His talent will be missed.
Heath Ledger always enjoyed acting in school plays, and was usually cast in the lead. At the age of 10 he volunteered with a local theater company, and at 16 he landed his first professional role in Blackrock, a dead-serious Australian movie about rape and its aftermath. At 17 he played a gay cyclist on Sweat, a down-under TV series about elite athletes. He said he wanted that role because there were so few gays on television, he figured he could get some attention if he did the role justice. And he did. On the strength of Sweat, he was offered Roar, an action-adventure series for America’s Fox TV in 1997, with a pre-Felicity Keri Russell as the princess who loved him. True to the show’s title, Ledger, playing a fifth-century Celtic prince seeking vengeance for his brother’s murder, would roar before going into battle, but the show went out with a whimper in less than two months.
He was still virtually unknown in America when he played a young lad with a shady past wooing Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, based on Shakespeare‘s Taming of the Shrew. In The Patriot he played Mel Gibson‘s son, kidnapped by the British. In A Knight’s Tale, very loosely based on Geoffrey Chaucer‘s The Knight’s Tale, Ledger swashbuckled and jousted with Rufus Sewell and established himself as a rising star. In Monster’s Ball he played Billy Bob Thornton‘s vomiting, suicidal son, in Lords of Dogtown he played the surf shop owner who took skateboarding to the extreme, and in Brokeback Mountain he played the manly ranch hand who herds sheep with Jake Gyllenhaal. He met his fiancé, Michelle Williams, on the set of Brokeback Mountain, and Gyllenhaal is their daughter’s godfather.