Since he first stepped in front of the camera, Heath Ledger made an impact. Landing 23 roles during his 19-year career, it was impossible not to watch when his face was on screen. Sadly, the actor’s life was cut short when he died at the age of 28 in 2008 due to an accidental overdose. Still, his legacy continues in his films.
In his memory, Us Weekly is recounting some of the best roles he’s ever had. Watch the video above!
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
This was the film that put Ledger on the map and gave the world their first look at that gorgeous smile that lit up the screen. One of his most memorable scenes in his career was in this film — his character, Patrick, sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” on the bleachers of the high school stadium to win over Julia Stiles’ Kat.
A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Ledger was excited to land a more serious role after the rom-com. This movie was when he realized he had become a movie star. “I am affected by all this, you’d be a freak if you weren’t,” he said in an interview with NitrateOnline in 2001 while promoting the film. “I don’t care about it enough to let it affect me, it’s not the be-all and end-all of my life. I truly work to live. I love what I do, but the special moments for me are between ‘action’ and ‘cut,’ and the rest really bores me.”
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The love story of two cowboys earned Ledger his first Academy Award nomination. He didn’t win, but earned great praise for his role of Ennis Del Mar. “Heath is very meticulous,” director Ang Lee told The Guardian in 2006. “I don’t advise actors to come to the monitor to watch themselves, but he’s the only exception I made. He gets better as he gets more self-conscious. He sets himself in a zone and believes in it and keeps refining it.”
The Dark Knight (2008)
Probably Ledger’s most memorable role is one of his last where he portrayed a very dark joker. The actor earned his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film but had passed away before the ceremony. While many thought the role drove him to his death, Ledger’s family recently confirmed that wasn’t the case at all. “He had an amazing sense of humor and certainly playing the Joker, for him it was one big gag. He had so much fun doing that. It was actually the exact opposite. There was no doom and gloom … That was a shock to me that people even thought that, really,” his sister Kate Ledger said after the Tribeca Film Festival premiere for I Am Heath Ledger, a documentary made about the actor, in 2017.
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