Ang Lee
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Hollywood mourns Heath

“Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life. He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined -- a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking.”

-- Ang Lee, who directed Ledger to an Oscar-nominated performance in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features)
“What a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family.”

-- Ledger’s fellow Australian Nicole Kidman (Daniel Deme / EPA)
“He is one of my favorite actors. His abilities are rare.... It’s a tremendous loss.”

-- Actor John Travolta, who was in Ledger’s homeland of Australia at a benefit dinner when he learned the news, adding, “It’s hard to be here celebrating Australia under these circumstances” (Getty Images)
“Heath Ledger was a courageous actor and a great soul. He gave us the gift of sharing his fearless and beautiful love -- of his craft and of all who worked with him -- for which all of us will be eternally grateful.”

-- James Schamus, chief executive, Focus Features, which released “Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features)
“I had such great hope for him. He was just taking off, and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

-- Actor Mel Gibson, who co-starred with Ledger in 2000’s “The Patriot” (Andrew Cooper / Columbia/TriStar)
“I am shocked over this.... He was very smart, an old soul. He was a charming man, direct. Most of the time he had to be the straight guy in the story; I think he wanted to goof around. He was really a funny guy. He could really control his body. He was very athletic. I just recently wrote him an e-mail to ask him if I could send him a script.”

-- Lasse Hallstrom, who directed Ledger in the 2005 film “Casanova” ()