David Thomson


12 October 2010

Heath Ledger

The entry on Heath Ledger was inadvertently dropped from the fifth edition of 'The Biographical Dictionary of Film', out next month. It will be included in the sixth edition. In the meantime, here it is. Heath Ledger was only 28 when he died, so he was four years older than James Dean at that unexpected moment. Yet he feels less of a loss than Dean. Unless you loved Ledger, and only love inspires true loss. Perhaps we have to admit that no one now really loves movie stars as people did when Dean died in 1955. But if Dean had lived – he’d be close to 80 – would all of us have become dismayed by a boredom that settled on him? Isn’t that what happened with Brando? I don’t mean Brando was boring in person, but he had wearied of being Marlon Brando and lost faith in acting and pretending.