10 Things I Hate About You wasn’t meant for an Academy Award. But to a young English teacher who wanted to instill a love of Shakespeare in her charges, it was a godsend. The 90s high school update of The Taming of the Shrew was an instant hit and remains a cult favorite.
It also introduced me to Heath Ledger. I liked him instantly. He had sparkling brown eyes that crinkled at the corners when he laughed, a sprinkling of freckles, a lanky frame, a devil may care energy. Even though it was a teen romantic comedy, he shone.
I followed Ledger’s career as he co starred in The Patriot, led the fluffy A Knight’s Tale, then really showed his acting chops in Monster’s Ball. My bro dismissed him as a pretty boy. Then he starred in Brokeback Mountain. And the world realized what I had known for years, that he could break our hearts as only a gifted actor can.
Heath Ledger is dead at 28. Accident or suicide, the facts are not available. But we have lost a great talent.