John Gibson's and his colleagues' actions at Fox regarding Heath Ledger in his life and most sadly in his death are beyond explanation and excuse.
Many thoughts run through my mind as I watch the news about Heath Ledger's death. The sadness and shock are of the most stunning, tragic, and deep to the core gut wrenching kind. I debated whether the right and respectful thing to do was to be silent and not blog about this extraordinary young man. However, two items published this morning created the impetus needed to make my decision. The right thing is to document the impact the amazing life force named Heath Ledger had on this world.
A.O. Scott, New York Times journalist, writes of Ledger:
...he should have had time to outgrow his early promise and become the strange, surprising, era-defining actor he always had the potential to be.
Mr. Scott's last line in his article was the first impetus for me this morning. A journalist I respect, Mr. Scott is, in my opinion, most often thought provoking, eloquent, and spot-on-accurate within his professional writings. However, today I must disagree with the conclusion of his article. Yes, Heath Ledger should have had time to continue to grow in all areas of his life, but as an actor Heath lived up to all of his potential all the time. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Heath Ledger was THE most gifted actor of his generation. I'll even go a step further, I believe Mr. Ledger was one of THE most gifted actors working today and that the body of his work will hold its own against any actor at any time in history.
As for Mr. Gibson's comments and the commentary of his colleagues, absolutely nothing can give explanation or excuse for their actions. Heath Ledger brought a sense of dignity, integrity, professionalism, and hope to not only his profession, but to the world at large. This is evidenced by the outpouring of a sense of deep loss felt around the world. Hope has become a word used in great excess as of late. While philosophers try to define it, writers try to express it, and politicians try to campaign on it, some people simply embody it when they smile. Heath Ledger was one of those rare people.