Today's hottie is a very special man who unfortunately left us too soon...
Heath Andrew Ledger was born April 4th, 1979 in Perth, Australia. In Junior high it was compulsory to do one of two electives, either cooking.. or drama. As Heath couldn't see himself in a cooking class, he tried his hand in drama. Heath was talented but the rest of the class never acknowledged it probably because out of jealousy.
When he was 17, he and a friend decided to pack up, leave school, take a car and drove to Sydney. He believed that Sydney was the place where dreams are made, or at least where actors can possibly get their big brake.
After various, not very successful attempts, he decided to travel to USA where he played a very brief role in "Roar" (1997) opposite then unknown Vera Farmiga. He could not find any American roles but then Australian director Gregor Jordan auditioned him for the lead in Two Hands (1999), which he got. An in your face Aussie crime thriller, Two Hands (1999) was outstanding and helped him secure a role in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Everybody expected him to play several teen hunk roles after the big success this movie made but Heath didn't like that and he preferred to play a small role in a very serious war drama, The Patriot (2000), as Mel Gibson's son.
What followed was a stark inconsistency of roles, Ledger accepting virtually every single character role, anything to avoid being typecast. Some met with praise, like his short role in Monster's Ball (2001), but his version of Ned Kelly (2003) was an absolute flop, which led distributors hesitant to even release it outside Australia. Heath finally had deserved success with his role in Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which he was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA.
Heath Ledger was found dead on January 22, 2008 in his apartment in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo, with a bottle of prescription sleeping pills nearby. It was concluded weeks later that he died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs that included painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication.
After his death, he received more than 30 posthumous awards for his portrayal as the psychopathic clown prince of crime in "The Dark Knight".
Unfortunately he could never finish filming the movie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" because of his sudden death. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell agreed to complete Ledger's role. They gave all the income they received for this movie, to Ledger's daughter Matilda, to secure her future...
2009 - Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2009 - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2009 - Austin Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2008 - International Award by the Australian Film Institute for Best Actor for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2006 - Best Actor for International Award by the Australian Film Institute for Best Actor
for: Brokeback Mountain (2005)
2009 - BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2009 - Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor for: The Dark Knight (2008)
2009 - Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for: The Dark Knight (2008)
He and his older sister, Kate Ledger, are named after the two main romantic characters of the Emily Brontë novel, "Wuthering Heights".
Had three sisters: Catherine (Kate) Ledger, married to Nathan Buckey, and half sisters Olivia Ledger (b. 1997) and Ashleigh Bell (b. 1989).
Named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001.
Dated Heather Graham. [October 2000 - June 2001]
Mother was Sally Ramshaw (daughter of John and Jackie Ramshaw) and father was Kim Ledger (son of Colin and Es Ledger). Stepfather was Roger Bell and stepmother was Emma Brown. His great-grandfather was Sir Frank Ledger, son of Edson Leger.
Was originally set to star in Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004) before Colin Farrell took over the role.
Dated Naomi Watts from August 2002 to May 2004.
Was of Irish and Scottish ancestry.
Met Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback Mountain (2005).
In 2006, took a year off from acting to raise his daughter Matilda Ledger while his girlfriend at the time, Michelle Williams, worked.
Called off his engagement to Michelle Williams in September 2007.
Owned a pet kangaroo that was found by his mother as a child.
Chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Movie Stars in the world (#79) 2007.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the godfather of his daughter Matilda Ledger.
Was the first non-American actor to portray the Joker.
When he was cast as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008), rumors circulated that his Brokeback Mountain (2005) cast mate Jake Gyllenhaal would be playing district attorney Harvey Dent. Instead, Jake's sister Maggie Gyllenhaal was cast as assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes.
After his death his body was returned to Perth, Western Australia, where his body was cremated at Fremantle Cemetery, with his ashes to be "scattered in a family plot at Karrakatta Cemetery, next to two of his grandparents.
In an interview shortly before his death, he stated that his favorite role so far in his career had been his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
He is not only the first and only actor to be nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of the Joker, but the first and only actor to secure an acting nomination for a Batman film.
His daughter Matilda Ledger will be the recipient of his Oscar for The Dark Knight (2008) when she turns 18. Up until then the statuette will be in custody of his father Kim Ledger, mother Sally Bell and sister Kate Ledger, per Academy rules.
Very first performer to win an Oscar for acting in a comic movie-adaptation.
Was a great admirer of Johnny Depp's work. Like Depp, Ledger worked hard to avoid being typecast as a teen heartthrob early on, in the hopes of expanding his career options. Both actors enjoyed taking risky, physically unappealing roles that surprised audiences. Depp was one of the three actors who filled in for Ledger's last unfinished role after his death, in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).
The second person to win a posthumous acting Oscar. The first was Peter Finch.
Won almost every award in which he was nominated for his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008) including the quintuple crown (a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, Critics' Choice Award, and Oscar).
"I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away. I wasn't going to have fun doing a teen movie again.... I don't want to do this for the rest of my life....I don't want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There's so much I want to discover." - Vanity Fair (August 2000)
[about the paparazzi] "Most of the time you don't even know they're there. Now, that's the scary thing. It's really strange and invading, but I'm still working it all out. I try to not let it bother me. I really try and find the humor in all of it. And if I want to swim naked in my pool, I'm still going to do it. I certainly don't want to feel that I have to change everything in my life that I do to cater to them. I just won't let it happen." - National Post, May 2001
"Matilda is adorable, and beautifully observant and wise. Michelle an I love her so much. Becoming a father exceeds all my expectations. It's the most remarkable experience I've ever had - it's marvelous." [On daughter Matilda and being a father]
My life right now is, I wouldn't say reduced to food, but my duties in life are that I wake up, cook breakfast, clean the dishes, prepare lunch, clean those dishes, go to the market, get fresh produce, cook dinner, clean those dishes and then sleep if I can. And I love it. I actually adore it.
[On playing "The Joker" in The Dark Knight (2008)] The Joker, so far, is definitely the most fun I've had with any character. He's just out of control -- no empathy, he's a sociopath, uh, a psychotic, mass-murdering clown. And, uh, I'm just thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying it. It's just exceeded any expectations I had of what the experience would be like.
[On walking down the red carpet] Like diving into an Olympic pool, swimming the length underwater, then emerging gasping for breath. It's so noisy that it's quiet, you can't hear; the flashlights are so blinding that it's dark, you can't see.
As always, a video tribute from our good friend and affiliate Theresa aka Rayneattwilight.
Biography Source: IMDB
Picture source: web