Brokeback Mountain will be the performance that goes down in the history books to remember the life and career of Heath Ledger. Many critics had questioned his talent as an actor leading up to his role as a gay cowboy, but the sheer brilliance of his grace on the silver screen won even the most hardened critics over.
Despite this role bringing Ledger his only Oscar nomination, he gave many other performances that are worthy of mentioning.
In his first Hollywood film, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ledger stole the hearts of many teenage girls, and was immediately cast as a romantic hero in movies to follow (Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, and Casanova). As Ledger’s career progressed, he made an honest attempt to take on roles that were more “out side of the box”, so to speak, from his traditional romantic pin-up role.
In 2005, a little known movie outside of Generation Y was produced, The Lords of Dogtown. This movie about the creation of skateboarding turning into the organized sport it is today, is arguably the best performance of his career. Ledger plays the owner of a skateboard shop in late 70’s California that sponsors a team (group of local riders) to compete in the first organized competitions of its kind. If you’ve never had the chance to see this movie, it’s highly recommended that you make a trip to the video store to check it out.
Unfortunately, we’ll no longer be able to enjoy the flashes of brilliance that Ledger gave to us on the big screen due to his shocking death at the young age of 28. On the bright side, however, Heath will always live on in film and, more importantly, in his beautiful daughter Mathilda Ledger.
Update: On a medical note, breaking reports tell: “An autopsy on Heath Ledger was inconclusive and more tests are needed,” reports The Associated Press.