It's hard to believe almost a year has gone by since Heath Ledger's tragic passing, but next Thursday will be the one-year anniversary of his death. He's already been honored with a few posthumous awards, including a Golden Globe, and with Oscar nominations less than a week away, the buzz around Heath's performance in The Dark Knight is as loud as ever. To continue honoring and celebrating his memory, Entertainment Weekly made Heath its cover story with quotes and highlights about his life from the people that worked closely with the actor and grew to know and love him over the years. Here are a few highlights from the touching article:
- Gil Junger, director, 10 Things I Hate About You: "Heath came in to read, and he exuded a sexuality so uncommon for a man of that age. As soon as he left, I stood up and said, 'Ladies, I have never wanted to sleep with a man, but if I had to, that would be the man. Please hire him immediately.'"
- Todd Black, producer, A Knight's Tale: "Heath was the pied piper. If you were sad, he took care of you. If you were happy, he made you happier just by dancing or talking or laughing. Fear didn't enter his psyche. He would say whatever was on his mind. If he didn't like you, you would know it, and if he liked you, you would know it."
- Wes Bentley, friend and costar, The Four Feathers: "Heath's fun clouded its way through a room. It was infectious. If you were stuck in an elevator with him, you'd be entertained. He liked to go to Vegas dressed snazzy. He'd walk the streets of Vegas and never really have a plan, dressed up in a pink blazer and a tie. He liked to get a boat and travel to the Greek islands. Some people think he'd party too much and take drugs. That wasn't the case. It was young energy. He was high off life."
- Terry Gilliam, director, The Brothers Grimm: "All of us who were close to Heath knew what was going on, and it was not the most pleasant experience. . . . He was obsessed with his daughter. She became the center of his thoughts. He would drag her up to my house in London. Here's Heath, Academy Award nominee, and he'd just grab his daughter, stick her in a backpack, hop on the Tube, and come up to the house. Nobody would have thought, There's Heath Ledger. He was just a guy with a kid."
To read a lot more quotes from costars and friends about Heath's life and tragic death, just
- Mel Gibson, costar, The Patriot: "We'd hook up from time to time and chat. He did ask me a couple of times for advice, but I just said, 'Hey, follow your own gut, dude. You're doing alright so far. Don't listen to me. I've often been known to be quite wrong about a lot of things.' But he was his own man. He was going to do what he was going to do. He was looking for a way to fulfill himself in his art and in who he was. He didn't have the cart before the horse."
- Nicola Pecorini, friend and cinematographer, The Order and Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: "Heath would sometimes ask for help to escape: 'Can you call me at 5:15 so I can pick up the phone and get off this interview?' It was very funny, because he was like a big kid — you know, 'Get me out of Science 101.' He went along for the ride, but at times it was a bit too much for him. He'd call me and say, 'Can I come play with your kid?' My son at the time was 10, and Heath would come and spend hours playing soldiers with him, just to get away from everything."
- Catherine Hardwicke, director, The Lords of Dogtown: "During the awards and celebratory parties for Brokeback, he told me, 'I don't want to work. I want to take a year or two off where Michelle and I will move to Holland and ride bikes.' This dream took root in his mind: How can I get away? How can I get time to renew my soul? But the business doesn't want you to take that time. He was so desirable, everyone was offering him the most delicious things in the world on a daily basis."
- Gary Oldman, costar, The Dark Knight: "I kind of raised my eyebrow at the casting and thought, Oh, I wonder how that will be. But any concerns that one may have had vanished when you got on the set with him. I did a couple of scenes with Heath in the first leg of the shoot in London. I called a friend and he said, 'How's Heath?' I said, 'He's breathtaking. He's going to be astounding.' I could tell just working for five minutes with him."
- Pecorini: "He was so solid into keeping clean, it was quite stunning. I really think he died of a broken heart. I know it can sound very romantic, but it's very tragic. I think that's what killed him."
- Steve Alexander, his CAA Agent: "We were making these incredible plans about what was next, career-wise. The day after he died, he was going to meet Steven Spielberg to explore the idea of playing Tom Hayden in a movie about the Chicago 7. This wasn't a guy who was even for a second thinking about checking out in any way, shape, or form. There's a moment in The Dark Knight when Heath's hanging upside down and he says to Batman, 'You and I are destined to do this forever.' It's a very sad moment. A sequel certainly would have happened. I cringe when I read that he was a tortured soul or a Method actor who couldn't get out of his own way because he'd played this dark character. It's just not true."
- Oldman: "If Heath does get an Oscar nomination, I can just picture him up there, looking down and going, F---!"