I'm afraid that I've never been too familiar with Heath Ledger or his work. I mean, I vaguely understood that he was in A Knight's Tale and Monster's Ball and Brokeback Mountain, but as I didn't have any connection to those films, I didn't have any connection to him. I did know that my sister rather liked him in Roar, that Terry Gilliam liked him, and that he's the Joker in The Dark Knight. I did have a favorable impression of him, therefore, because for me my sister's word is gold, Gilliam's a genius, and the Joker's an engaging villain. Still, my favorable impression was based on loose, secondhand sources.
Now that Ledger has died, however, I'm getting a feeling for the positive impact that he had on people's lives. I'm not getting it by reading his biography or watching his movies, though. I'm getting it simply by watching the faces and listening to the voices of the people who did know him and who are familiar with his work. When these people say, "This is a tragedy," they're not just saying, "This is a tragedy for him and for his family"; they're saying, "This is a tragedy for me and for all of us."
I'm better with cookies than with words. Instead of embarrassing myself further, therefore, I'm going to draw from a classic:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
By the way, Lancis, it's good to see you again!