Brightest star

We all knew and loved Heath Ledger


Brightest star
by Delsooz

He once was quoted as saying: "I'm not good at future planning. I don't plan at all. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. I don't have a day planner and I don't have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future."

I mourn his loss. There are some people who believe an actor's death should not be front-page news when there are soldiers and civilians who are dying in faraway lands for greater causes. I don't know a single soldier or a single dead civilian. I do know a lot about war. I've read about it. I've written twenty page papers on the roots and causes of international conflict, the reasons for genocide and ethnic violence, the clash of civilizations. Reading and writing about something isn't as real as mourning the loss of something you know.

I feel that I knew him. You might feel like you knew him, too. That's because we did.

When I was fourteen years old, I watched a movie called "10 Things I Hate About You". It was one of those typical teenage romantic comedies: boy meets girl, boy courts girl, boy hurts girl, and boy takes until the end of the movie to make everything right. They kiss, followed by the rolling credits. It's one of those movies that touched me. The kind of movie you stay and watch, everytime you see it playing on some obscure television channel. Even if there's only twenty minutes left, you stay and watch. For me, it was just to catch a glimpse of his brilliance.

To me, even in the role of a teenage heartthrob, Heath Ledger, named after the legendary Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, was always destined for greatness.

I knew it when I was fourteen and I watched his air of confidence as he sang for the girl he was trying to woo in front of a crowd of fellow highschoolers in that dreamy voice of his, "You're just too good to be true, can't take my eyes off of you.."

He broke out of the teeny bopper image (which I never agreed he had) with every passing film choice that he made. Heath was one of those special actors, and it pains me to speak of him in the past tense. Like Christian Bale, who picks and chooses roles that have meaning and show acting growth, Heath was only getting better and better.

He starred as legendary lover, Giacomo Casanova, in 2005. While the film was not necessarily embraced by audiences, it was well-liked by fans and leading critics. In it, Heath portrayed a man who was accustomed to having the love and adoration of all women. When one woman came along who didn't give him the time of day, his whole world came crashing down around him and he had to win the heart of the first woman who did not requite his love. His voice, his eyes; brought emotion and life to a man who was fabled to have lived centuries before ours.

Not afraid of his choices, that same year, he stood by his bold decision to star in Brokeback Mountain as a homosexual cowboy. He was rewarded for his fearlessness and his understanding of the skill of acting with his first Oscar Nomination in 2006. While he did not win the Oscar, it served as a hint of what was to come in his career. Of what would have come.

Another notable role was in the cult classic film, The Lords Of Dogtown. Again, he showed us another layer of himself, and his skill. He was one of those few and far in between actors who come along and become the role they are portraying. They take the character and turn themselves into him, making it so believable that you find yourself referring to the character as Heath and Heath as the character, as if they were one and the same.

None as much as me have been as eagerly anticipating Heath's latest two films.

In I'm Not There, Heath was one of a handful of actorsto play different facets of the character of Bob Dylan. I was listening to Dylan last night, listening to the words of one of his greatest songs "How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man..the answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind." The song is "Blowing in the Wind" and while the Kingston Trio may have added their own unique twist to it, the truthful and deep-hitting voice of Dylan is the voice that was meant to sing it. Heath was not only a man, he was destined to become as legendary as the great romantic literary figure that he was named after. Now, the answer of how great he actually might have been is just a "what if" that is blowing in the wind.

Most of all, as half the country can agree with me, I have waited to see him play the role of "The Joker" opposite Christian Bales' "Batman". To many, it is a mere comic book tale, but to me, this will be the medium by which two of the greatest young actors of our time are to be displayed to the world. They say that Heath was so engrossed in his character that he found it hard to sleep at night. His mind was entranced in Joker's world. While Jack Nicholson may have brought the role to the movie screen first, it will be Heath Ledger who will bring the character to reality.

I mourn him, in a way I cannot mourn a nameless face across the country. To me, their deaths are equal, as is the loss of any human being's life. But, a soldier chooses to fight. He signs his name, says goodbye to his family, and leaves to fight for a cause, knowing he may never return home save for in a body bag.

But Heath: He had so much to give this world. So much pleasure to bring to his fans as they watch his continued and steady rise to greatness. After all, he was the man whose acting skills had been compared by the harshest of critics to those of Sean Penn and Marlon Brando (on their best days!).

When I think of him, and his passing, I think back to my years as an innocent teenager, and the stupid grin I would have on my face when boy finally wins girl's heart and her forgiveness. Forgive me for being "shallow", if that is what you think I am. But, I cannot turn my back on the death of a young man, a little older than me, who dreamed of touching the world and making it to Hollywood and greatness. It was an honorable dream, and he made it a reality. Not only did he make it as an actor, but he made it as a respected and well loved actor.

The world is a darker place for me and many others today. Hollywood, that land that can help you escape your mundane life if only for $9.00 and a bucket of popcorn, has lost a shining star.

But I will not cry, even in my mourning. I will look at the sky tonight, and look for the brightest star, knowing that he is there, finding warmth and solace in the thought that so many knew what he was truly worth. And, knowing he will live on in our hears as we watch Ennis del Mar sitting by the fireside, as Patrick Verona gets paid to date a frigid girl, as Casanova prepares to woo his sweetheart at the ball, and as we root for the bad guys he portrays, like the Joker. Heath lives on his work, through us, the moviegoers...his fans!



I agree...

by AA (not verified) on

Thanks for the compassionate article. I agree with Maryam... I wished it was Tom Cruise instead of Heath!!!


Ahmagh! Get real!

by Fatollah (not verified) on

Hope, you will morn your Grand parents deaths more ... No,what do you mean by we all ... ?


I am sorry

by Kiana (not verified) on

I understand your feelings. I feel the same way ,everytime thatI hear about some young person's death. It reminds me of millions of young boys who got killed and disabled in the nonsense war between Iran and Iraq. Unlike you I have tasted the sorrow of the losing people to war. I still remember those young boys( age ranging between 13- 20) who suffered from spinal cord injuries due to the war of mullahs and all they got was numerous pictures of mullahs around their hospital beds while they were eaten up by the bed sores which were never treated properly.

Please take care of your compassionate heart and keep loving..........


Why This Affects Us

by Mel (not verified) on

Thanks for writing this article. I've been trying to tell my husband how it feels different when Heath Ledger died than when some other celebrity does. My husband is one of those guys like the one above who wrote that an actor dying shouldn't be in the news. I agree that there are millions dying in other parts of the world and we should be giving more attention to that. At the same time, I do feel that since we now know the news of Heath Ledger dying, it makes sense for us to talk about his death because it affects us differently.

Why? I think because at least for the younger generation, he reminds us of ourselves, and how life is short and can end at anytime. Yes, he had such an enormous talent, was a celebrity, and was accomplishing a lot that most of us haven't. But at the same time, he seemed like a regular guy -- a decent, nice, and intelligent person. He appeared to be happy, and seemed to treat his baby daughter and the mother really well. Yes, he broke up with the mother of his child, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was linked to the fact that he said he was feeling 'disturbed' and 'sleepless' while filming his role as the Joker. Which also kind of makes you think of what can happen if you get too immersed in something. Maybe that role, which was the reason he got sleeping pills, helped caused his death? I know when I watch the new Batman movie, I'm going to feel chills when I see Heath act, like I have while watching the trailer.

In any case, I think it makes perfect sense to be affected by his untimely death, so again thanks for writing this article.


Thankyou I miss him too

by Maryam S (not verified) on

Thankyou so much for writing this Delsooz. He was a wonderful actor who was so young, with a 2 year old daughter who will never get to know him, and '10 Things i hate about You' is one of those films you can watch over and over again.

But he wasn't just any actor - he wasn't like Tom Cruise or the Olsen Twins (how much i had rather they had died instead of him!). He was an actor's actor he didn't live the Hollywood party life - he tried to escape it by living in Perth and then in Brooklyn to be near his daughter. He avoided blockbuster movies to make movies that had a deeper meaning.

The reason why he should be on the news is part of this cult of the celebrity as we feel like we know them, therefore it is appropriate to mourn the death of a celebrity no matter how unfair this may seem to some people.

RIP Heath Ledger - the saying is true - it's always the good ones that go


Oh ffs..

by Bored iranian dude (not verified) on

"There are some people who believe an actor's death should not be front-page news when there are soldiers and civilians who are dying in faraway lands for greater causes." Yup Im one of them, the 40 seconds on CNN, BBC and so on used on this incident over and over again when we have Iraq, Darfur, Gaza, elections and so on, is just.. stupid. Only thing positive he brought to civilization was his acting in Brokeback mountain. Thats my honest view.


Thanks to the editor for the

by Delsooz (not verified) on

Thanks to the editor for the fitting picture of Heath that he chose for this post. It warms my heart.


RIP Heath

by M (not verified) on

Nicely written, our sentiments and thoughts exactly.

Ledger was one of the best that independant or Hollywood had, alas just for a short time.