Monday, January 26, 2009
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Remembering Heath: The Movies, The Memories, The Magic

by Michele Cameron Drew


In 1979, in Perth, Western Australia, Heathcliff Andrew Ledger was born. A drama student through high school, by the age of 20, Heath was roughing it in Sydney(where dreams are made), arriving there with(as the story goes) 69 cents in his pocket.

In 1996, he played a short part as a gay cyclist in the short-lived TV Show "Sweat". Then in '97 a low budget movie "Blackrock" and a small role in "Paws" for which he received little recognition.

With half of my heritage being Native American and the other half being Celtic and having a great interest in early American History, I am fascinated by all things spiritual and ancient. In 1997, enter Heath Ledger and Roar: a young and talented actor with the most amazing smile that I have ever seen and a great Celtic themed show, a feast of my favorite fantasy/celtic genre with an amazing actor at the helm. When Heath smiled, it lit up his entire face. One thing I haven't heard much about in recent news is my first encountering of Heath: In the 1997 TV Show "Roar" with Heath playing the role of Conor, the fearless leader.

Although Heath immediately gained scrutiny as just another "pretty boy" actor, he went on to prove his incredible skill and talent over the course of the next few years.

In 1999, Heath was unable to find any work in the US and accepted a role in the film "Two Hands" which helped him to gain his role in "10 Things I Hate About You" with Julia Stiles.

At this point it was clear to Heath that he was being typecast. Heath's last desire was to be typecast as a teen idol, so in 2000, he accepted his first serious role in "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson.

In "The Patriot" Heath portrays Gabriel Martin the son of Benjamin Martin(Mel Gibson) a peaceful farmer who is drawn into leading the Colonial Militia when his son is murdered by an angry and vengeful British officer during the American Revolutionary War. Set to the music of Sarah McLachlan, here is a clip of Heath's scenes from the movie:

By this time I was already quite hooked on Heath and his amazing abilities as an actor and all around beautiful person. After "The Patriot" he came right back on the scene with another blockbuster film. "A Knight's Tale" is probably my favorite of his films and I have watched it more times than I care to count.

2001 also saw Heath through playing tough guy prison guard Sonny Grotowski in "Monster's Ball", and in 2002 Harry Feversham in "The Four Feathers" opposite Ethne Eustace(Kate Hudson).

In 2003, Heath brought us back to Australia in "Ned Kelly" a film I have yet to see and will be watching upon completion of this article. I do know that this film is based on a novel entitled "Our Sunshine" by Robert Drew portraying the life of a well known Australian bushranger.

2003 also brought us "The Order" another favorite of mine. Heath portrays Alex Bernier, a young priest who is sent to Rome by the Church to investigate the death of the head of his order. His leading lady in this role is Shannyn Sossamon who also plays opposite him in "A Knight's Tale".

2005 is packed with films, bringing us Heath as Skip in "Lords of Dogtown" where the Z-Boys of Dogtown in Santa Monica perfect their skating skills in the empty swimming pools of unknowing homeowners. This year also brings us Jacob Grimm of "The Brothers Grimm" with Matt Damon as his brother Wilhelm Grimm, the controversial "Brokeback Mountain" and the clever comedy "Casanova".

Heath starred in the 2006 film "Candy", where he and his love are heroine addicts and in 2007's "I'm Not There" he participated in a bio-drama about the life of Bob Dylan.

In 2008, during the filming of "Dark Knight" and "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"(due for release this year), at the age of 28, we tragically lost a lifetime achiever, incredibly moving actor, an all around amazing man, and a beautiful smile.

Heath, will be sorely missed, but his gift and his smile will live on in the hearts of those who adore and love him. One year later, our hearts still go out to his lovely little girl Matilda and to all of Heath's loved ones.

And now I leave you with an excellent tribute to Heath and his films:

Copyright © Michele Cameron Drew. All Rights Reserved.


BC Doan said...

He is a wonderful performer, and will be missed!

Michele Cameron Drew said...

He really was an amazing young man. I had a very difficult time getting through this writing, even a year later. It makes me so sad... so young, such a tragedy.

I actually wrote this to be published on triond on the anniversary of his death, but triond put me through a couple of rounds of revisions and I didn't want to wait any more, so I decided to publish it on my blog in it's original form instead. It was really upsetting me to have to keep rewriting it.

I hope that everyone who reads this will say a prayer for Matilda.


Rochefort-U.S.A. Friendship said...

Dear Michele,
What a great homage to Heath, this wonderful actor with a marvellous smile. I learnt a lot about him with your superb article. I remember him well in "The Patriot".
Thank you Michele,
Take care,

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