As many of you have probably already heard, Heath Ledger was found dead in his SoHo apartment today, evidently of an overdose of sleeping pills. It's not clear whether it was an accident or suicide.
It is of course always tragic when someone so young (he was just 28) passes so needlessly, and more tragic still given that he had a young daughter with actress Michelle Williams. But it is also saddening that the world has been denied whatever his fierce talent might have offered in the coming years. Ledger had not had many great roles, but his turn as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain was one of the most vivid, moving, original performances of the last 20 years or more. It will be remembered, and he will be mourned, for many years to come.
Update: My Home Movies column on Brokeback, which dealt largely with the iconic resonances of Ennis, has been rescued from the archives and can be found here.