Ledger, Heath


Ledger, Heath
▪ 2009
Heathcliff Andrew Ledger 
      Australian actor

born April 4, 1979, Perth, Australia

died Jan. 22, 2008, New York, N.Y.
was renowned for his moving and intense performances in diverse motion-picture roles, in particular the taciturn and tormented cowboy Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which he won best actor honours from the Australian Film Institute and received a nomination in the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes. Ledger began his career in the late 1990s on Australian television, notably in the soap opera Home and Away and the mythic adventure series Roar, and in films, including the black comedy Two Hands (1999). His first Hollywood movie, the teen romance 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), won him great attention. Ledger resisted being typecast as a teen heartthrob, however, and won critical acclaim for his varied roles in The Patriot (2000), Monster's Ball (2001), Lords of Dogtown and Casanova (both 2005), and Candy (2006). He had completed his role as the Joker in the Batman movie The Dark Knight (2008) and was working on the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death from an accidental overdose of a mixture of prescription drugs.

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▪ Australian actor
byname of  Heathcliff Andrew Ledger 
born April 4, 1979, Perth, Austl.
died Jan. 22, 2008, New York, N.Y., U.S.
 Australian actor renowned for his moving and intense performances in diverse roles.

      Ledger was raised in Perth, Austl. He began acting in school productions in junior high and moved to Sydney at age 17 to pursue a career in performance. His first roles were on television, and in 1997 he appeared in the Australian soap opera Home and Away and in the mythic adventure series Roar. Ledger proceeded to take a number of minor roles in films, including the black comedy Two Hands (1999). His first Hollywood movie, the teen romance 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), won him great attention.

      Ledger resisted being typecast as a teen heartthrob and developed a reputation for taking divergent character roles. In The Patriot (2000) he starred opposite Mel Gibson (Gibson, Mel) as an American Revolutionary War soldier, and in Monster's Ball (2001) he portrayed a young corrections officer who questions old family prejudices. In 2005 Ledger appeared as pioneering skateboarder Skip Engblom in Lords of Dogtown and as the legendary title character in the comedy Casanova. Ledger drew further praise as a heroin addict in Candy (2006). His sympathetic turn as the taciturn and tormented cowboy Ennis Del Mar in director Ang Lee (Lee, Ang)'s Brokeback Mountain (2005) won him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best actor. The film caused a media sensation because of its frank and sympathetic portrayal of the clandestine gay romance between Ledger's character and another cowboy, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Ledger then contributed his impressionistic rendering of musician Bob Dylan (Dylan, Bob) to the ensemble cast of I'm Not There (2007).

 Ledger had completed his role as the Joker (Joker, the) in the Batman movie The Dark Knight (2008) and was working on the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when he died from an accidental overdose of a mixture of prescription drugs; filming of the latter movie was finished with Johnny Depp (Depp, Johnny), Jude Law, and Colin Farrell portraying different versions of his character. Ledger was posthumously awarded the Golden Globe for best supporting actor and nominated for an Academy Award in the same category for his eerie, frantic depiction of the Joker.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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