by Tony Dayoub
Heath Ledger was found dead today. He was 28.
First coming to prominence in lighter roles, like in 10 Things I Hate About You, the first glimpse of deeper talent lay in his performance in the grim Monster's Ball. In it he played Sonny, son of Billy Bob Thornton's Hank, a son caught in the devastating cycle of psychological abuse that father unleashes on son after being victimized himself by his father before that.
And though one can argue that Brokeback Mountain is vastly overrated, Ledger's portrayal of Ennis Del Mar is not. He is the anchor in that movie and says significantly more in his depiction of unfulfilled love than his costar Jake Gyllenhaal in a far more understated characterization.
The legacy he leaves behind is incomplete for now. His final performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight will not be seen till summer.