After talking last week about a multi-talented artist like Dave Grohl, let’s talk about Heath Ledger, a very talented actor in various disciplines, surprisingly also in chess and dance.
We do it today, 14 years after his untimely death, which took place on January 22, 2008.
The beginnings of Heath Ledger
Heathcliff Andrew Ledger was born on April 4, 1979 in the Australian city of Perth. Interestingly, Heath and his sister Katherine got their name in honor of the main characters in Emily Bronte’s famous novel, Wuthering Heights.
Heath Ledger spent his youth in Australia, where he practiced various sports (cricket, Australian football, field hockey …). Junior chess champion of Western Australia at the age of 10, he made his stage debut with the Globe Shakespeare Company. He even became a choreographer! This is to make you understand how many things he could to do.
In 1995, he landed his first real role in the Sweat series.
Heath Ledger’s acting career took off in 1996 when he starred in the sports television series Pot. He Soon he became quite famous in Australia and received an invitation to act in the United States. In 1997, he landed the lead role on the series “Roar” and began a relationship with actress Lisa Zane, then 35, who he followed to Hollywood.
In Hollywood, Heath quickly found an agent and landed new roles, including in the youth comedy “10 Things I Hate About You” – the modern version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” However, the image of a handsome young man, with whom many American high school students sighed, did not do much to realize his exceptional acting talent, and Ledger began looking for more serious proposals.
In 2000, Heath Ledger played the son of hero Mel Gibson in Roland Emmerich’s sensational “Patriot”. This work brought the young actor to world fame and first professional awards. Despite playing many interesting roles in the following years, Ledger’s biggest hit was in 2005.
As a matter of fact, that year 4 films with his participation were released at the same time. In addition, the actor managed to play completely different roles from each other, which makes us understand the extraordinary talent of him.
The film “The Brothers Grimm”, presented the audience with an alternate story of the famous storytellers, and Ledger played one of the brothers, Jacob. In The Kings of Dogtown, the always drunk surfboard merchant. In the costume film “Casanova” the actor got the role from the protagonist of the famous seducer. Most controversial and, at the same time, hugely successful was the role of one of the cowboys in love in Ang Lee’s slightly outrageous film “Brokeback Mountain”, which won Heath an Oscar nomination.
On the set he meets Michelle Williams. The two actors give birth to Matilda-Rose.
In 2007, there was the filming of The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan, which became the continuation of the Batman film series. Heath Ledger gets the role of the main villain – the Joker. According to colleagues, most notably the famous British actor Michael Kane, the young actor managed to outdo Jack Nicholson himself, who played the Joker in one of the previous films, as a scary psychopathic killer.
How did Heath Ledger die?
There are those who say that perhaps it was the role of the Joker that killed Ledger. Heath had shut himself up in a hotel room for several weeks, playing with his voice, his laughter and locking himself in this dark villain’s head.
The work had completely exhausted him, so much so that the actor had started taking many antidepressants in combination with painkillers and sleeping pills.
This disturbing “cocktail” probably became the reason for his death.
During the filming of the film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Heath Ledger was found unconscious in his bed, exactly on January 22, 2008. Drug overdose.
Unfortunately, Heath Ledger’s death is brutal, and it comes in a moment of full glory. Later in the year, and therefore posthumously, The Dark Knight comes out. His portrayal of the Joker is so brilliant that the role earned him three posthumous awards, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Oscar.
In 2009, Parnassus was released posthumously. As the actor was unable to complete filming, he is replaced in his scenes by Johnny Depp, Colin Farell and Jude Law (the script is adapted accordingly).
As mentioned earlier, Heath Ledger had a daughter with Michelle Williams in 2005, before separating from the actress in 2007.
With the birth of Matilda, the actor had fulfilled his dream of starting a family. However, this newfound happiness only masked his depressive personality, a trait that contributed greatly to the breakup of the relationship in 2007.
His drug abuse and controversial lifestyle cost him his relationship with Michelle, which sent him on a fateful descent into hell, “the same source said. His autopsy determined that Heath had consumed a lethal mixture of pain relievers, anxiolytics and sleeping pills.
While his death has been deemed “accidental,” many now indicate that the star was greatly upset by the loss of the two loves of her life. “He was deeply unhappy,” revealed his then vocal coach Gerry Grennell. Heath was a broken man. “
We may never know if the actor took his own life on purpose, but regardless, more than a dozen years later, his admirers and loved ones do not fade his memory.
A book came out shortly after Ledger’s death “Hollywood’s Dark Star” which pays homage to him and makes us see his creativity. In 2015 Heath Ledger’s Testament was released, a book that reports the various interviews released by the actor in which he exposes his concerns, doubts and fears of him.
Last release in 2018, on the occasion of the tenth year of his untimely death. A documentary, “I am Heath Ledger”, a testimony from family, friends and artists who were lucky enough to work with him.
All that remains is to say goodbye with the words of Heath Ledger’s most famous character, Joker, which are particularly significant today:
They want you dead so they can turn back. But I know the truth: there is no turning back. You changed things. Forever.