So everyone's mourning Heath's death and talking about how the world is deprived of so many pictures becaues he died young. I think that's reasonable and Heath was on his way to being a great actor.
At the same time, I find it curious that the Heath Ledger effect doesn't work for directors as well. I find it curious that the 2 founders of Mirage died premature deaths this past year and while Sidney Pollack's funeral was one of the most widely attended events in Hollywood this past year, no one has felt it's a loss to the world of movies that he won't be making any more pictures. I don't know but I imagine Pollack might have had 2 or three films left in him. He was 74 when he died, which is pretty old, but Altman, Lumet and Scorsesee seem on course to make films into their 80s as does Eastwood.
Granted, Pollack was old, but Minghellia died at age 54. He could have done a dozen more films before he died and while Pollack could be uneven, Minghellia's films were usually Oscar caliber. Cold Mountain almost got nominated, Talented Mr Ripley got him a best director nomination, English Patient won best picture and recently placed #14 on a poll of best films of the 90s. Breaking and Entering was quiet and not widely received but well-received. Minghellia usually tackled books and challenging adaptations which are a much more timeless and consistently reliable source material than what most films are made of, so it's a good bet he would have had many more memorable films within him.