Heath  Ledger's Memorial

Heath Ledger
(1979 - 2008)

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General Details

Name: Mr Heath Ledger
Gender: Male
Age: 28 years old
Lived: Wednesday, 4 April 1979 - Tuesday, 22 January 2008

My Story

Ledger was born in Perth, Western Australia, the son of Sally Ledger Bell (née Ramshaw), a French teacher, and Kim Ledger, a race car driver and mining engineer. Ledger's mother is descended from the Clan Campbell of Scotland and his father comes from a family well-known in Perth. Heath (Heathcliff) and his sister Katherine were named after the two main characters in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust was named after his great-grandfather. Ledger attended Marys Mount Primary School, in Gooseberry Hill, and later Guildford Grammar School and its preparatory school of the same name.

At sixteen, Ledger sat for early graduation exams, and left school to pursue an acting career with girlfriend Jenna Sorrell. With his best friend, Trevor DiCarlo, Ledger made the cross-country drive to Sydney. He returned to Perth for the TV series Sweat (1996), in which he played a gay cyclist.

In 1996, prior to his film debut in the 1997 Australian movie Blackrock, Heath Ledger was involved in the short lived Fox Broadcasting Company fantasy-drama Roar. In 1999, Ledger starred in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You and also had the lead role in the acclaimed Australian movie Two Hands, directed by Gregor Jordan.

He starred in The Patriot, Monster's Ball, A Knight's Tale, Ned Kelly, The Order, and The Brothers Grimm. In 2001, he won a ShoWest Award for the Male Star of Tomorrow based on his performance in The Patriot, and worldwide release of A Knight's Tale. In 2003, he was named one of Australian GQ's Men of the Year for acting.

In 2005, Ledger received a Best Actor in a Drama Golden Globe nomination for his acclaimed 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. In the New York Times review of the film, critic Stephen Holden wrote:

 "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 screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn."

In another review in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers wrote:

"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."

Ledger received "Best Actor of 2005" awards for Brokeback Mountain from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. In the same year, Ledger played a fictionalized version of Giacomo Casanova in Casanova. The film, a romantic comedy which co-starred Sienna Miller, drew mixed reviews from critics and failed to find a significant audience among general moviegoers, though it fared better on DVD.

In 2006, Ledger was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2007, he was one of six actors to portray different sides of singer Bob Dylan in the film I'm Not There.

On July 21, 2006, Ledger was officially confirmed to play iconic comic book villain The Joker in The Dark Knight, the sequel to the 2005 film Batman Begins, opposite fellow I'm Not There star Christian Bale. The film is set to debut on July 18, 2008.

He was filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death.

Ledger started a record company with singer Ben Harper. His first step in the music business was directing Harper's music video for "Morning Yearning".He had directed and produced Australian artist N'Fa's work, including his video "Seduction is Evil".In 2006, Ledger directed three music videos: "Cause an Effect" and "Seduction Is Evil (She's Hot)" for Australian hip-hop artist N'fa, as well as "Morning Yearning" for Ben Harper.

Ledger had a turbulent relationship with paparazzi photographers. It is alleged that he spat at and assaulted a photographer in Sydney in 2004, while a relative also is alleged to have spat on a photographer in 2005. Ledger strongly denied the accusation. On January 13, 2006, several photographers retaliated, squirting Ledger with water pistols as he walked the red carpet for the Sydney premiere of Brokeback Mountain.

Ledger was also subject to criticism in the press following his performance on stage at the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Ledger was seen giggling when presenting Brokeback Mountain as a nominee for Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The Los Angeles Times described his behavior as "some kind of gay spoof." Ledger later called the Times to explain that his actions were the result of stage fright, saying that he was only told he would be presenting the award minutes beforehand. "I am so sorry and I apologize for my nervousness," Ledger told the newspaper.

Ledger also came under fire after he was quoted in January 2006 in Australia's Herald Sun as saying that West Virginia had banned Brokeback Mountain (which it had not). He also referred to the state as having had lynchings as recently as the 1980s. These statements have been roundly disputed by archivists and historians, who have found that the last extra-legal public hanging in West Virginia occurred in 1931.

Ledger had a relationship with Naomi Watts, whom he met in 2002 during the filming of Ned Kelly. They started dating in August 2002. The couple ended their relationship in April 2004. Previously, he had dated actresses Lisa Zane and Heather Graham.

Ledger was engaged to actress Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. Their daughter, Matilda Rose was born on October 28, 2005. The child's godparents are Ledger's Brokeback costar Jake Gyllenhaal and Williams' Dawson's Creek castmate Busy Phillips.

Ledger and his family divided their time between Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Sydney. Ledger sold his Australian residence in Bronte, New South Wales, for A$7 million.

In August 2007, Us Weekly reported that Ledger and Williams ended their relationship because of their busy schedule. Neither Ledger nor Williams had confirmed the rumor at that time. On September 4, 2007, Williams' father, Larry, confirmed to Sydney Daily Telegraph that Ledger and Williams had indeed split.

In early 2008, Ledger was reported to be seeing model Gemma Ward after media articles linked the two together at end of 2007 holiday celebrations. Ledger was found dead in an apartment in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City on January 22, 2008.

Ledger's body was found around 3:26pm by a housekeeper and a massage therapist, who entered the bedroom to find him unconscious in bed with sleeping pills nearby. After an initial autopsy the Medical Examiner of New York concluded that the manner of death was an accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.

May you rest in peace...

Latest Tributes

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Flower Memorial Tribute
From: Rainkid
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RIP .Heath hope you're happy there . it's been 2 years . and you are and will always be in my heart
Heart Memorial Tribute
From: Sann
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Stone Memorial Tribute
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may your great work continue in heaven...
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ily
Heart Memorial Tribute
From: bec
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Dear Heath, I was so saddened about your sudden passing. You'll always be remembered for the great person and the gr...
Candle Memorial Tribute
From: Jadeebug
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My heart goes out to all his family and friends.
Stone Memorial Tribute
From: Luther
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A great actor and a great loss to the world~ God bless you Heath
Flower Memorial Tribute
From: beverlyann
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Stone Memorial Tribute
From: SNK
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"Why so serious???" (Batman: The Dark Knight). A incomparable masterpiece. Bless your bright shining soul.
Memory Memorial Tribute
From: mymuimui
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You were truly great in Batman: The Dark Knight. An act deserving an Oscar. R.I.P Heath
Flower Memorial Tribute
From: denise
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You were an inspiration - Good night God bless Heath

Biography

Fathers Name: Kim Ledger
Mothers Name: Sally Ledger Bell
Country of Birth: Australia
Country of Residence: USA
City of Residence: Manhattan
Occupation: Entertainment
Marital Status: Single

Interests

Favourite Artist: Ben Harper & N'fa
Favourite Charity: Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust

Passing

Place of Passing: Soho Residence
Date of Passing: 22 January 2008
Cause of Passing: Accidental prescription medication overdose
Place of Burial: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Funeral Date: 9 February 2008

Music - Over the hills and far away

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