Hunky Heath Savored Challenges

'Craggy, sexy' actor carved out niche with tough roles
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 6:40 AM CST
Heath Ledger arrives at the Marc Jacobs spring 2008 collection show during Fashion Week in New York, in this, Sept. 10, 2007, file photo. Ledger, 28, an Australian-born actor, was found dead in a Manhattan...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The late Heath Ledger, found dead yesterday in his Manhattan apartment, was a "craggy, sexy" actor who went about his craft with almost painful seriousness, says the Washington Post. He left an undeniable mark in film history, from his role in teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You as a fresh-faced unknown to his final part as the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie.

Ranging across costume dramas and knighthood fantasies, Ledger's career hit a high point with his Oscar-nominated performance as a painfully quiet, broken-hearted gay ranch hand in Brokeback Mountain, a difficult role that demanded masterful communication of the unsaid. He had an old-fashioned manliness, notes Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, but "Ledger was at his best playing men in turmoil, men in trouble, men suffering from deep wounds to the spirit."