Heath Ledger was born in 1979 in Perth, Western Australia. He began acting at age ten in a local theatre company. After a small role in Clowning Around in 1992, Ledger began to get roles on Australian television series while continuing his stage work. He worked on Ship to Shore (1993), Sweat (1996), Bush Patrol (1997) and Home and Away (1997).
American audiences first glimpsed Ledger in 1997 in the short-lived summer Fox Television series Roar. Roar was created by former Hardy Boy, Shaun Cassidy and was a mix of Braveheart and Celtic mysticism, which were both popular at the time. After Roar's cancellation, Ledger continued his career by acting in several Australian independent films including Blackrock and Paws, both in 1997 and Two Hands in 1999. His portrayal of Jimmy earned him an Australian Film Institute Best Actor Nomination.
Ledger made his Hollywood film debut in 1999 in 10 Things I Hate About You, an update of William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. His role as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot positioned him for stardom. He followed it with a starring role in A Knight's Tale in 2001. In an effort to not get typecast, Ledger took most any kind of role. He had a brief supporting role in the critical favorite Monster's Ball. In 2002, he starred in the period remake The Four Feathers with Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson.
His turn as the title character Ned Kelly was hardly seen outside of Australia. he co-starred with Matt Damon in the underwhelming Terry Gilliam-film, The Brothers Grimm. However, he won critical acclaim and awards nominations for his turn in Brokeback Mountain. After taking some time off from acting to raise his young daughter while his partner Michelle Williams worked, he returned as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Unfortunately, the awards for his role were posthumous as he passed away from an accidental overdose from several prescription drugs. His final role in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was completed by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.
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