Heath Andrew Ledger, Brokeback’s Ennis del Mar, was born on April 4, 1979, in Perth, Western Australia. He died at age 28 in New York City, New York, on January 22, 2008.
Describing the role, Ledger once said, “It was one of the most beautiful screenplays I’ve ever read. I was certainly drawn to Ennis—his silent complexities. There’s a huge battle within him, and there were so little words to express this, so I knew there would have to be a thorough investigation into his character. There was a brilliant short story from Annie Proulx, incredibly descriptive, essentially it was a biopic. It was clear how we had to play it. It was going to be the most masculine person I’d played, telling a story which hadn’t been told before.”
His was a performance which not only stunned the world and the critical community, but also surpassed the expectations of Annie Proulx and Ang Lee, illuminating the story in ways that they had never imagined or understood. The lives of millions in this generation have been changed by his mighty art, as others will be in generations to come.
Brokeback Mountain is Heath Ledger’s memorial, his legacy, and his enduring gift to us.
Revised 15 December 2009