So in my Candy review I mentioned that I would make a whole post about Heath Ledger. I love this man and his incredible talent. I don’t know where to start with this, because in his short life Heath achieved so much.
If you know me you’ll know how much I love Heath. I’ve seen every movie he ever did, many times. I know so much about him and his life. When he died I was so upset. He seriously didn’t deserve to go so soon.
Heath Ledger was for sure one of, if not THE best actor of all time. Every single one of his performances are spectacular. Winning 77 awards for his acting and being nominated for 55 others just shows the skill and talent this man possessed. Heath won the Oscar for Best Supporting role for his performance of The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s’ The Dark Knight. The award was won posthumously and accepted by his Father, Mother and Sister. It’s such a genuine shame that Heath wasn’t there to collect this award for himself.
Heath grew up in Perth, Australia. At the age of seventeen Heath and a friend decided they wanted more from life, so they packed up and left Perth. They travelled to Sydney to try and get a break in acting. Heath had only sixty-nine-cents to his name at this point. He got some roles in low-budget films, until 1999, when Heath was twenty-years-old, after moving to the US to pursue a career in acting. Heath landed his first major role in a film as Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You. Performing along side actors like Julia Stiles, Alison Janney, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gabrielle Union. This film was the beginning of Heath’s legacy. Not wanting to be just a teen heartthrob, Heath set his sights on more mature films.
Working on more matures films like Two Hands, Monsters Ball (with Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton), The Patriot (along side Mel Gibson) and A Knights Tale. One of Heath’s best loved films is Brokeback Mountain where he played a gay cowboy in 1963 when being gay was severely frowned upon. Starring along side Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and future partner and mother of his child, Michelle Williams. One of my favourite films and favourite performances by Heath. The film is so emotional and beautiful that you just can’t help but shed a few tears at the end. It’s definitely one you have got to see, and feel.
Casanova and Candy came next. Playing the infamous Italian author and ladies man, Casanova, with Jeremy Irons, Natalie Dormer and Sienna Miller. The film is a ‘biography’ of Giacamo Casanova, although it doesn’t really portray his actual life. It’s definitely adapted as a cinematic portrayal focusing on a very small part of Casanova’s life (kind of). Although it was dramatically changed I really enjoyed it, and it was actually the first film I saw with Heath Ledger in. Since then I was hooked! I’m not going to say much on Candy because I wrote a whole blog post about this film which you can read here. I will say that it is one of the greatest films I have ever seen.
I’m not there was Heath’s next film. Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere and Ben Whishaw all join Heath Ledger as they embody different parts of the life and work of musician Bob Dylan. This film is so great! I’m finding it hard to describe because so much happens, so the only thing I can say is to check it out yourself!
The last two films Heath starred in are The Dark Knight and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Both of these films were released after Heath passed away. Heath didn’t even finish filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, so three other actors (Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell) filled in to play Heath’s character, Tony. All three of these actors put all the money they made from this movie in to an account for Heath Ledgers young daughter when she turns eighteen so she has some support.
To prepare for his role as the Clown Prince of Crime, Heath locked himself away in a hotel room for nearly two months, surviving on four hours of sleep a night to help him get in to the mind of a psychopath. This was most likely a significant detail of his untimely death. Heath kept a diary he believes The Joker would keep, he did this to try and get in to the mind of The Joker. He’d sit for hours practising the voice he would use in his performance. In my opinion, and a lot of others too, Heaths performance in The Dark Knight was the best cinematic performance of all time. Period. I don’t think anything could ever top it.
As I mentioned earlier, Heath met Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback Mountain in 2004 where they played married couple Ennis Del Mar and Alma. Michelle got pregnant whilst Brokeback Mountain was being filmed and gave birth to Daughter, Matilda Rose Ledger in October 2005. It was very clear they were very in love, and Heath loved Matilda more than anything; he loved being a Dad. In 2007, when Heath was filming The Dark Knight, the couple decided to end things. Apparently Heath started spending a lot of time with his friends and doing drugs, whilst Michelle grew isolated which was the main cause for the couples breakup.
After the break up Heath stopped smoking weed and also drinking alcohol, but due to the stress of his break up and also the pressure he was putting on himself to get in to the role of The Joker, Heath was taking a lot of prescription drugs.
Heaths death was ruled as an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He had a cocktail of painkillers, anti-anxiety pills and sleeping pills in his body at the time of his death. He was found in his apartment in Soho unconscious by his masseuse on 22nd January 2008. For some reason, the masseuse who found him made three calls to Heaths friend Mary-Kate Olsen before ringing 911. There are rumours that Mary-Kate Olsen was the one who gave Heath some of the medication that was found in his blood. So why the masseuse didn’t phone 911 straight away is rather quite suspicious. It was released that no medication found in Heaths body was taken in excess, which means that all of the medications mixed together are the reason of his death.
Even though it’s been ten years since the death of Heath Ledger, I think his legacy and films will live on forever. In his short twenty-eight years of life he achieved so much, and left such a mark on this planet. It’s such a shame how little time he got to spend with his Daughter, who he very obviously adored.
Heaths funeral was in Perth, Australia where he grew up. Cate Blanchett delivered a eulogy just before Heath was taken to be cremated attended by ten close family members. Michelle Williams attended but Heaths Daughter, Matilda stayed home. After his funeral guests went down to the beach. It looked like a really special and beautiful service.
Last year, 2017, a documentary about Heath Ledgers life was released called ‘I am Heath Ledger‘. I cried the whole way through this documentary. Heath was just such a genuinely lovely human being who had lots of love to give. The documentary features people who were close to Heath including family members and celebrities he was close friends with. Please go watch it and I promise you’ll fall in love with Heath.
I decided to write this post to share how wonderful Heath was and also express my love for him and all of his incredible work.
Thank you for reading!
I do not own any photographs/pictures included.