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Heath Ledger 1979 - 2008

Author: Daniel Crichton-Rouse
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
When The Dark Knight hits our screen later this year it's going to be a bittersweet moment - there will be excitement because it's Heath Ledger playing the Joker, but this will ultimately be overshadowed by the fact it's Ledger's last film (two other films he was working on, including one with Terry Gilliam, weren't finished). Industry insiders were already hailing it as Ledger's finest performance, following an outstanding run of films including Brokeback Mountain and his role as Bob Dylan in the biopic I'm Not There. If TDK's plot follows that of the original Batman, seeing the Joker's demise on screen will be a tragic, surreal moment of cinema.

It's a terrible loss to the film world, both Australian and international - Ledger died right at the prime of his career, and at such a young age.

After appearing in a handful of local TV shows early in his career, Ledger made his mark on the silver screen in 1999's Ten Things I Hate About You (including his memorable on-screen rendition of Can't Take My Eyes Off You). A string of successful roles followed, in films such as Two Hands, The Patriot, Monster's Ball and A Knight's Tale, before his role in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The next year he gave us The Brothers Grimm and then the gritty local hit, Candy.

His cause of death is unconfirmed at going to print, although the actor had been suffering pneumonia and was taking prescribed sleeping pills. Foul play was ruled out almost immediately.

He leaves behind his two-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose.