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Heathcliff Andrew Ledger - In Memory

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I came home late at night on January the 22nd and while logging into my email happened to see - Heath Ledger found dead at his Manhattan apartment. For a moment I was unsure whether it was a prank or a publicity gimmick for his new film. Only when I clicked on the video of his father expressing shock at his untimely and tragic end, that it left me with distaste I cannot simply convey in words. Having grown up with actors of great calibre and knowing them as friends rather than the ‘larger than life stars’ they are made out to be in the media I was incredibly fussy about whom I liked. Very few actors managed to get me to sit and watch them for their ability to immerse themselves in their roles rather than portray them with effortless panache and think they had done a splendid job and Heath was one such actor I could watch with a strong sense of being overtly critical and yet find him amuse me with his approach, nothing short of grand talent he lent to complex roles that he made appear so easy.

Not surprising that he was not only compared to Marlon Brando but also the New York Times so aptly called him - Prince of Intensity With a Lightness of Touch. He had a kind of warmth — the sensitive ability to portray his characters by signalling an inner emotional state without overtly showing it and this is exactly what I thought differentiated Heath as a great screen presence from the regular movie actors. He was handsome enough, and famous enough, to be called a movie star, yet he was also serious enough, and smart enough, to be suspicious of deploying his charisma too easily or cheaply.

What a loss indeed of an actor with such great range and it is so, not only because he was so young, but also because his talent was huge and as yet largely unused that we will all miss this era-defining actor he always had the potential to be.



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