Hi everybody!

It's rare that there's a role that requires an Australian accent.
I'm not a public speaker and never will be.
When I started acting, I was just crap.
I like to set up obstacles and defeat them.
I'm just not on of those naturally funny, relaxed actors who enjoy the spotlight and are so good at it.

Born: 4th April 1979
Died: 22nd January 2008

Image by Giovana Oliveira

Early Life:

Heath Ledger was born on April 4th 1979 to mother Sally Ledger Bell, a french teacher, and father Kim Ledger, a race car driver and mining specialist. He and his sister, Katherine were reportedly named after two main characters in Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights'. He also had two half-sisters: Ashleigh Bell and Olivia Ledger both of whom were born into his parents second marriage. But Ledger's closet family relationship was with Katherine, whom he later credited for spurring his acting career.

Early in life, Ledger found a passion for playing chess. At the age of 10, he won Western Australian's Junior Chess Championship. It was around this time that he found an interest in becoming a stage performer, as he performed the lead role in Guildford Grammar School's production of Peter Pan. That same year, his parents divorced when Heath was 11. He found emotional release in acting, choreography and dance and continued seeking out roles on grammar school. He also tried his hand on the big screen in the movie 'Clowning Around', and later appeared in the TV series 'Ship to Shore'.

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Making it in Hollywood:

At age 16, Ledger completed his early graduation exams, and he travelled cross-country to Sydney to pursue an acting career with his long time friend Trevor DiCarlo. He had worked various small roles in television and his feature film debut came in 1997 in the emotional drama film 'Blackrock'. This lead to a starring role in a pilot series 'Roar'; a medieval fantasy series costarring Keri Russell. The series was nominated for several awards and exposed Ledger to American audiences and Fox executives. On the urging of then-girlfriend , Liza Zane, Heath sought an American agent and followed Zane back to Los Angeles at age 19.

In 1999, he was fully exposed to an international audience with his breakout role opposite Julia Stiles in '10 Things I Hate About You'. The film was a cult success among younger audiences. Despite his young age and relative inexperience, he was soon beating out the Hollywood elite for major roles in blockbuster films. Mel Gibson cast him as his son Gabriel Martin in 'The Patriot (2000)'. And the highly experimental 'A Knight's Tale (2001)' displayed Ledger's abilities as a true leading man. His exposure in these films, coupled with his growing reputation as a Hollywood playboy, led 'People' magazine to name Ledger one of it's "50 most Beautiful People" in 2001.

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'Brokeback Mountain':

He worked steadily on many independent films until 2005 when he was once again thrust into the spotlight with his contribution to one of the most controversial films to date. Ledger received "Best Actor of 2005" awards from both the New York Film Critics Circle and San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his performance in 'Brokeback Mountain'. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance- making him at age 26, the 9th youngest nominee for Best Actor Oscar.

It was on the set of 'Brokeback Mountain' that Ledger met actress Michelle Williams. The two began a whirlwind relationship, and their daughter, Matilda Rose was born on October 28th 2005 in New York City. Problems with paparazzi in Australia prompted Ledger to sell his residence in Bronte, New South Wales, and moved to the United States, where he shared an apartment with Williams from 2005 to 2007. Williams' father confirmed to Sydney's Daily Telegraph that Ledger and Williams had ended their relationship.

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Tragic Death:

On January 22nd 2008, Ledger was found unconscious in his bed by his housekeeper, Teresa Solomon at his apartment in the SoHo neighbourhood of Manhattan.

Emergency medical technicians arrived at Ledger's apartment at 3:33 pm but were unable to revive him. At 3:36 pm Ledger was pronounced dead and his body was removed from the apartment.

Ledger had told 'The New York Times' in November of 2007 that he was taking Ambien, a prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. He discussed the difficulty that he was having with portraying The Joker in 'The Dark Knight (2008)' a character he described as a "psychotic, mass-murdering clown with zero empathy".

It is believed that the young star's death was caused by an overdose of the sleep aid, combined with various other prescription drugs found in his system post-mortem. The coroner report ruled his death an accident.

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Posthumous Works:

Before his unfortunate passing, Heath Ledger completed filming 'The Dark Knight' and the blockbuster was Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance and grossed more than $400 million in 18 days.Ledger was posthumously awarded a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as The Joker in 'The Dark Knight'.

'I Am Heath Ledger' a feature-length documentary celebrating his life using footage he had filmed himself, was released in theatres on May 2017.

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Thanks for reading! Hope you all enjoyed it!
09/10/2017