Heath Ledger

  • Born: April 4, 1979
  • Died: January 22, 2008
  • Location: New York, New York

Tribute


Heath Ledger in 2006

Actor found dead in NYC at 28

Heath Ledger's award was `bittersweet' for father

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Australian actor Heath Ledger's father said his late son's win for best supporting actor at the Golden Globes was bittersweet.

The actor, who died from an accidental prescription drug overdose last year, won the award for his diabolical turn as the Joker in the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight."

"We didn't know whether he would win or not — you can't take anything for granted," Kim Ledger told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Monday following the awards ceremony. "And the mere fact that everybody stood for him and give him a standing ovation, I mean that really hit us in the heart, you know? I just really wish our boy was here to see that."

Kim Ledger, who lives in Perth in Western Australia state, said the award was a celebration of his son's "dedication, his creativity, his talent and his hard work."

His mother, Sally Bell, told People Magazine that the award will be given to Heath's 3-year-old daughter Matilda, whose mother is actress Michelle Williams.

The following article was originally published on January 23, 2008

NEW YORK - Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence, and police said drugs may have been a factor. He was 28.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the Manhattan apartment believed to be his home. The housekeeper who went to let him know the masseuse had arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.

A large crowd of paparazzi and gawkers began gathering Tuesday evening outside the building on an upscale block in SoHo, where several police officers guarded the door.

The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain," where he met Michelle Williams in 2005. The two had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, until they split up last year.

He most recently appeared in "I'm Not There," in which he played one of the many incarnations of Bob Dylan -- as did Cate Blanchett, whose performance in that film earned an Oscar nomination Tuesday for best supporting actress.

Ledger was to appear as the Joker this year in "The Dark Night," a sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins." He's had starring roles in "A Knight's Tale" and "The Patriot," and played the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in "Monster's Ball."

Ledger grew up in Perth, and began doing amateur theater at age 10. At 16, he moved to Sydney to pursue an acting career, quickly landing TV movie roles and guest spots on Australian television.

After several independent films and a starring role in the short-lived Fox TV series "Roar," Ledger moved to Los Angeles and costarred in "10 Things I Hate About You," a teen comedy reworking of "The Taming of the Shrew."

Offers for other teen flicks came his way, but Ledger turned them down, preferring to remain idle than sign on for projects he didn't like.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me," Ledger told the Associated Press in 2001. "It was hard for everyone else around me to understand. Agents were like, `You're crazy,' my parents were like, `Come on, you have to eat.'"