Rudyard Kipling wrote: “Smells are surer than sounds or sights
In 2008, the world lost one of its most beloved actors in Heath Ledger. At only 28 years old he had already hit star status. His life was full of both amazing success and personal tragedy. Read on for the facts about the amazing actor.
1. Both Heath and his sister Kate were named after characters from Wuthering Heights.
2. When Ledger was a child he was a big fan of chess, and won Western Australia’s junior chess championship when he was 10 years old. He still played as an adult, and when he had insomnia he would often play.
3. One of Ledger’s dreams was to eventually become a director, and at the time of his death he was planning his first film as a director with The Queen’s Gambit, an adaptation of a novel about chess.
4. A common request by Ledger for the films he was in was for his wardrobe to be done by his friend Shem.
5. Ledger was the first non-American actor to portray the Joker.
6. When he was a child growing up in Australia, Ledger had a pet kangaroo that his mother found abandoned on their property.
7. In 2006, Ledger and his girlfriend Michelle Williams had a daughter named Matilda. After she was born, Ledger took off an entire year to parent.
8. During the filming of A Knight’s Tale there was only a single jousting injury, despite the fact that the whole movie revolved around jousting. It was when Ledger knocked out one of director Brian Helgeland’s teeth with a broomstick during a demonstration of one of the moves.
9. In The Dark Knight, The Joker creates a series of videos. These were directed by Ledger.
10. Towards the end of his life, Ledger developed horrible insomnia that left him able to sleep only a few hours a night. He was also filming The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and sometimes could be found asleep with one of his daughter’s stuffed animals, a testament to the stress of his current custody battles.
11. Despite rumors of suicide, Ledger’s death was ruled an accident after he took sleeping pills, pain killers, and cold medication together. He was found by his housekeeper, who chose to call Mary-Kate Olsen before she called 911.
12. Ledger is one of only two actors to be awarded a posthumous Oscar. It will go to his daughter Matilda when she turns 18.