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Heath Ledger

Facts about Heath Ledger

Date of Birth:04 April 1979
Birthplace:Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Age:28 (age at death)
First Name:Heath
Middle Name:Andrew
Last Name:Ledger
Height:6' 1" (185 cm)
Eye Color:Brown - Dark
Hair Color:Brown - Light
Star Sign:Aries
Claim to Fame:A Knights Tale
Occupation Category:Actor
Date of Death:22 January 2008
Location of Death:Soho, New York
Cause of Death:Accidental Sleeping Pill Overdose
MoreRead more about Heath Ledger


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Heath Ledger (Male Celebrities)
Heath Ledger (Male Celebrities)
Heath Ledger (Male Celebrities)
Heath Ledger (Male Celebrities)
Heath Ledger (Male Celebrities)
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Biography for Heath Ledger

Heath Andrew Ledger (4 Apr. 1979 (42 years ago) – 22 Jan. 2008 (13 years ago)) was an Australian TV and movie actor. After performing roles in Australian TV and movie during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 (23 years ago) to develop his movie career. His work includes nineteen films, most notably 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, 22 years ago), The Patriot (2000, 21 years ago), Monster's Ball (2001, 20 years ago), A Knight's Tale (2001, 20 years ago), Brokeback Mountain (2005, 16 years ago), and The Dark Knight (13 walls) (2008, 13 years ago). In addition to his acting, he produced and directed music videos and aspired to be a movie director.

For his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, Ledger won the 2005 (16 years ago) New York movie Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and the 2006 (15 years ago) "Best Actor" award from the Australian movie Institute and was nominated for the 2005 (16 years ago) Academy Award for Best Actor as well as the 2006 (15 years ago) Best Actor award from the BAFTA. Posthumously he shared the 2007 (14 years ago) Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award with the rest of the ensemble cast, the director, and the casting director for the film, I'm Not There which was inspired by the life and songs of American singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan. In the film, Ledger portrayed a fictional actor named Robbie Clark, one of six characters embodying aspects of the iconic Dylan. He was nominated and won awards for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight (13 walls), including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 (13 years ago) Australian movie Institute Awards, for which he became the first actor to win an award posthumously, the 2008 (13 years ago) Los Angeles movie Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the 2009 (12 years ago) Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a motion picture (wallpaper) and the 2009 (12 years ago) BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He died at the age of 28, from an accidental "toxic combination of prescription drugs." Ledger's death came during editing of The Dark Knight (13 walls), casting a shadow over the subsequent promotion of the $180 million film. At the time of his death, on 22 Jan. 2008 (13 years ago), he had completed about half of his work performing the role of Tony in Terry Gilliam's forthcoming movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Personal life

Heath Ledger was born on 4 Apr. 1979 (42 years ago), in Perth, Western Australia, the son of Sally Ledger (née Ramshaw), a French teacher, and Kim Ledger, a racing-car driver and mining engineer, whose family established and owned the Ledger Engineering Foundry. The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after his great-grandfather. Ledger attended Mary's Mount Primary School, in Gooseberry Hill, and later Guildford Grammar School, where he had his first acting experiences, starring in a school production as Peter Pan at age 10. His parents separated when he was 10 and divorced when he was 11. Ledger's older sister, Kate, an actress and later a publicist, to whom he was very close, inspired his acting on stage, and his love of Gene Kelly inspired his successful choreography leading to Guildford Grammar's 60-member team's "first all-boy victory" at the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge. Heath's and Kate's other siblings include two half-sisters, Ashleigh Bell (b. 1989 (32 years ago)), his mother's daughter with her second husband and his stepfather Roger Bell, and Olivia Ledger (b. 1997 (24 years ago)), his father's daughter with second wife and his stepmother Emma Brown.

Ledger was an avid chess player, winning Western Australia's junior chess championship at the age of 10. As an adult, he often played with other chess enthusiasts at Washington Square Park. Allan Scott's movie adaptation of the chess-related 1983 (38 years ago) novel The Queen's Gambit, by Walter Tevis, which at the time of his death he was planning to both perform in and direct, would have been Ledger's first feature movie as a director.

Among his most-notable romantic relationships, Ledger dated actress Heather Graham (13 walls) for several months in 2000 (21 years ago) to 2001 (20 years ago), and he had a serious on-and-off-again long-term relationship with actress Naomi Watts (6 walls), whom he met during the filming of Ned Kelly and with whom he lived at times from 2002 (19 years ago) to 2004 (17 years ago). In the summer of 2004 (17 years ago), he met and began dating actress Michelle Williams (4 walls) on the set of Brokeback Mountain, and their daughter, Matilda Rose, was born on 28 Oct. 2005 (16 years ago) in New York City. Matilda Rose's godparents are Ledger's Brokeback co-star Jake Gyllenhaal (7 walls) and Williams' Dawson's Creek castmate Busy Philipps. Problems with paparazzi in Australia prompted Ledger to sell his residence in Bronte, New South Wales and move to the United States, where he shared an apartment with Williams, in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, from 2005 (16 years ago) to 2007 (14 years ago). In sep. 2007 (14 years ago), Williams' father, Larry Williams, confirmed to Sydney's Daily Telegraph that Ledger and Williams had ended their relationship. After his break up with Williams, in late 2007 (14 years ago) and early 2008 (13 years ago), the tabloid press and other public media linked Ledger romantically with supermodels Helena Christensen and Gemma Ward and with former child star, actress Mary-Kate Olsen.



After sitting for early graduation exams at 16, Ledger left school to pursue an acting career. With Trevor DiCarlo, his best friend since he was 3, Ledger drove across Australia from Perth to Sydney, returning to Perth to take a small role in Clowning Around (1992, 29 years ago), the first part of a two-part TV series, and to work on the TV series Sweat (1996, 25 years ago), in which he played a gay cyclist. From 1993 (28 years ago) to 1997 (24 years ago), Ledger also had parts in the Perth TV series Ship to Shore (1993, 28 years ago); in the short-lived Fox Broadcasting Company fantasy-drama Roar (1997, 24 years ago); in Home and Away (1997, 24 years ago), one of Australia's most successful TV shows; and in the Australian movie Blackrock (1997, 24 years ago), his feature movie debut. In 1999 (22 years ago), he starred in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You and in the acclaimed Australian crime movie Two Hands, directed by Gregor Jordan.


From 2000 (21 years ago) to 2005 (16 years ago), he starred in supporting roles as Gabriel Martin, the eldest son of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), in The Patriot (2000, 21 years ago), and as Sonny Grotowski, the son of Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), in Monster's Ball (2000, 21 years ago); and in leading or title roles in A Knight's Tale (2001, 20 years ago), The Four Feathers (2002, 19 years ago), The Order (2003, 18 years ago), Ned Kelly (2003, 18 years ago), Casanova (2005, 16 years ago), The Brothers Grimm (2005, 16 years ago), and Lords of Dogtown (2005, 16 years ago). In 2001 (20 years ago), he won a ShoWest Award as "Male Star of Tomorrow".

Ledger received "Best Actor of 2005" awards from both the New York movie Critics Circle and the San Francisco movie Critics Circle for his performance in Brokeback Mountain, in which he plays Wyoming ranch hand Ennis Del Mar, who has a love affair with aspiring rodeo rider Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He also received a nomination for Golden Globe Best Actor in a Drama and a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance, making him, at age 26, the ninth youngest nominee for a Best Actor Oscar. In The New York Times review of the film, critic Stephen Holden writes: "Both Mr. Ledger and Mr. Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable. Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn." In a review in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers states: "Ledger's magnificent performance is an acting miracle. He seems to tear it from his insides. Ledger doesn't just know how Ennis moves, speaks and listens; he knows how he breathes. To see him inhale the scent of a shirt hanging in Jack's closet is to take measure of the pain of love lost."

After Brokeback Mountain, Ledger costarred with fellow Australian Abbie Cornish in the 2006 (15 years ago) Australian movie Candy, an adaptation of the 1998 (23 years ago) novel Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction, as young heroin addicts in love attempting to break free of their addiction, whose mentor is played by renowned Australian actor Geoffrey Rush; for his performance as sometime poet Dan, Ledger was nominated for three "Best Actor" awards, including one of the movie Critics Circle of Australia Awards 2006 (15 years ago), which both Cornish and Rush won in their categories. A couple of weeks after the release of Candy, Ledger was invited to join the Academy of Motion picture (wallpaper) Arts and Sciences.

As one of six actors embodying different aspects of the life of Bob Dylan in the 2007 (14 years ago) movie I'm Not There, directed by Todd Haynes, Ledger "won praise for his portrayal of 'Robbie [Clark],' a moody, counter-culture actor who represents the romanticist side of Dylan, but says accolades are never his motivation." Posthumously, on 23 Feb. 2008 (13 years ago), he shared the 2007 (14 years ago) Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award with the rest of the film's ensemble cast, its director, and its casting director.

In his next to last movie performance, Ledger plays the Joker in The Dark Knight (13 walls), directed by Christopher Nolan, the sequel to the 2005 (16 years ago) movie Batman Begins, first released, in Australia, on 16 Jul. 2008 (13 years ago), nearly six months after his death. While still working on the film, in London, Ledger told Sarah Lyall, in their interview published in the New York Times on 4 Nov. 2007 (14 years ago), that he viewed The Dark Knight's Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy." To prepare for the role, Ledger told Empire, "I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices — it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts"; after reiterating his view of the character as "just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown," he added that Nolan had given him "free rein" to create the role, which he found "fun, because there are no real boundaries to what the Joker would say or do. Nothing intimidates him, and everything is a big joke." For his work in The Dark Knight (13 walls), Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, his family accepting it on his behalf, as well as numerous other posthumous awards including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, which Christopher Nolan accepted for him.

At the time of his death, on 22 Jan. 2008 (13 years ago), Ledger had completed about half of the work for his final movie performance as Tony in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Directorial work

Ledger had aspirations to become a movie director and had made some music videos, which director Todd Haynes praised highly in his tribute to Ledger upon accepting the ISP Robert Altman Award, which Ledger posthumously shared, on 23 Feb. 2008 (13 years ago). In 2006 (15 years ago) Ledger directed music videos for the title track on Australian hip-hop artist N'fa's CD debut solo album Cause an Effect and for the single "Seduction Is Evil (She's Hot)". Later that year, Ledger inaugurated a new record label, Masses Music, with singer Ben Harper and also directed a music video for Harper's song "Morning Yearning".

At a news conference at the 2007 (14 years ago) Venice movie Festival, Ledger spoke of his desire to make a documentary movie about the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake, who died in 1974 (47 years ago), at the age of 26, from an overdose of an antidepressant. Ledger created and acted in a music video set to Drake's recording of the singer's 1974 (47 years ago) song about depression "Black Eyed Dog"–a title "inspired by Winston Churchill’s descriptive term for depression" (black dog); it was shown publicly only twice, first at the Bumbershoot Festival, in Seattle, Washington, held from 1 sep. to 3 sep. 2007; and secondly as part of "A Place To Be: A Celebration of Nick Drake", with its screening of Their Place: Reflections On Nick Drake, "a series of short filmed homages to Nick Drake" (including Ledger's), sponsored by American Cinematheque, at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, in Hollywood, on 5 Oct. 2007 (14 years ago). After Ledger's death, his music video for "Black Eyed Dog" was shown on the Internet and excerpted in news clips distributed via YouTube.

He was working with Scottish screenwriter and producer Allan Scott on an adaptation of the 1983 (38 years ago) novel The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis, for which he was planning both to act and to direct, which would have been his first feature movie as a director. Ledger's final directorial work, in which he shot two music videos before his death, premiere in 2009 (12 years ago). The music videos, completed for Modest Mouse and Grace Woodroofe, include an animated feature for Modest Mouse's song, "King Rat", and the Woodroofe video for her cover of David Bowie's "Quicksand". The "King Rat" video premiered on 4 Aug. 2009 (12 years ago).


  • Clowning Around
  • Blackrock
  • Paws
  • Two Hands
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • The Patriot
  • Monster's Ball
  • A Knight's Tale
  • The Four Feathers
  • The Order
  • Ned Kelly
  • Casanova
  • The Brothers Grimm
  • Lords of Dogtown
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Candy
  • I'm Not There
  • The Dark Knight (13 walls)
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

TV-shows (series)

  • Ship to Shore
  • Sweat
  • Home and Away
  • Roar


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