Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

By now, everyone knows about the tragic death of noteworthy actor Heath Ledger, 28. His story has been a gossip topic since his death last Tuesday, Jan. 22.

While most other media outlets focus on his awards nominations and his role in 2005’s most controversial film,
Brokeback Mountain, the College Times would like to remind you about some forgotten moments of Heath’s life.

His first USA breakthrough was at the ago of 20, in 10 Things I Hate About You( 1999), the popular teen adaptation of Taming of the Shrew. A year later, we saw a different side to his acting abilities in The Patriot. And just one more year later, he became one of the most adored heartthrobs in A Knight’s Tale, earning a rank in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People of 2001 list.

It was on the set of 2005’s Brokeback Mountain that Heath met Michelle Williams, his soon-to-be fiancée and mother of their daughter. The two split up in Sept. 2007. Williams was promoting her Sundance-accepted film, Incendiary, in Park City when the news broke about Heath’s death. Incendiary coincidentally tells the story of a woman (Williams) struggling with the death of her husband and child in the terrorist bombing of a London soccer stadium.

Ledger was in the process of filming a movie under director Terry Gilliam when he passed away. It is still unknown if the film was completed enough to be released or if Gilliam will simply have to re-shoot. If Gilliam’s project has to be re-shot, Ledger’s final film appearance will be as the Joker in The Dark Knight, this summer’s much-anticipated sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins.

Most street gossip dictates that drug abuse was involved, but police say that although his apartment was littered with sleeping pills, no illegal substances were found. Ledger had told the New York Times that his sleeping patterns had been jarred since working on The Dark Knight and I’m Not There.

Ledger was known for his friendliness in the community. A hair stylist living a few doors away claimed that he always said hello. A young woman told reporters that she remembered Ledger for his initiative to act when a motorcyclist crashed outside a restaurant he was dining in, and he was the first person to rush out to help. Many also remember him for his tenderness as a father. He was frequently seen going on walks with his two-year-old daughter, Matilda. He told the New York Times in an interview last year that his favorite thing to do was spend time with her and how difficult it was to leave her behind for work in the morning.

Heath Ledger stood out from typical Hollywood playboys. He took both his acting career and personal life very seriously. He had memorable performances behind him and, without a doubt, many more ahead of him. But these performances will never be seen, and a truly remarkable a person has been lost.

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