And I Cried: Remembering Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose surprising rendering of the fate of a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to actors like Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in his Manhattan apartment.

Even if he had lived to be a person of very advanced years, Ledger would probably never have stopped hearing people tell “I wish I knew how to quit you” jokes, the line expressed by his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. What seems to have gotten lost in the midst of considerable public anxiety is how very good the film actually was, and how superb Ledger was as Ennis Del Mar, the emotionally stifled ranch hand with a broken heart. Really, it was a tragic portrayal about not talking, about repression, about the unsaid. And that is easier said than done.

As the body of Ledger’s works progressed, one could discern that he went about the search to evoke the spirit of his characters with almost too much seriousness, with pain.

Heath Ledger: 1979-2008

Remembering Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger: 1979-2008

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