It was a year ago today. Across the floor, in the art studio, everyone buzzing that someone had died. Then I heard “Heath Ledger” and my heart dropped. My brain started vibrating and ringing and all I could make out was “We lost another one.” And everything changed. Though I practically drool with empathy, I’m not usually that affected by celebrity death, or celebrity in general. This was different.
I wanted to write about it then. But I couldn’t. And I thought a year later I’d be better equipped. Not so much. I think I know though, a little, why Heath Ledger’s death hit so hard for so many people, and still is. He died, but there was this…this thing that was still out there. Everyone knew he was going to be a great Joker, but just HOW great he was, there’s just no wrapping the brain around it. That was more than just acting; it was transcending something that I can’t even fathom.
I wanted to see “The Dark Knight,” but I dreaded it more. I felt, walking to the movie theater, like I was going to a funeral. All the months of knowing that he was gone, but there was still this big thing that he had done. I didn’t want to let it go.
And I was afraid. However and why ever Mr. Ledger got into drugs, you can’t convince me it was just to be some kind of junkie. Not with the performance he gave. He leapt into madness and swam around in it until he was done creating one of the most magnificent roles that I’ve ever witnessed.
So today, I just want to pay tribute to a great artist of his time, who died way before his time. And as the Oscar® nominations are currently going on, I don’t need to look to see that Heath Ledger will receive one, a year after leaving this earth. And even if he was still alive, it could not be more deserved.
Rest in peace, Heath Ledger. Thank you for creating some of the most remarkable art I’ve ever experienced. You will be remembered.