Heath Ledger‘s family is refuting claims that the late star’s role as the Joker contributed to his death in January 2008.
Ledger’s sister Kate spoke out about the rumors at the premiere of the new documentary I Am Heath Ledger in NYC Monday, April 24.
“I was really shocked, because that was him having fun. Every report was coming out that he was depressed and that [the role] was taking this toll on him, and we’re going, honestly, it was the absolute opposite. It couldn’t be more wrong,” Kate told The Daily Telegraph at the Tribeca Film Festival. “He had an amazing sense of humor, and I guess maybe only his family and friends knew that, but he was having fun. He wasn’t depressed about the Joker!”
The actor took on the villainous character in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Months after filming wrapped, Ledger died of an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs at the age of 28. In 2009, he won the best supporting actor Oscar for the role, and his family accepted the award on his behalf.
Ledger’s father, Kim Ledger, opened up about the tragedy during an interview with Daily Mail Australia in July 2016.
“It was totally his fault. It was no one else’s. He reached for [the pills]. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation. That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him,” Kim said at the time. “His sister was on the phone with him the night before telling him not to take the prescription medications with the sleeping tablets.”
He added: “He was a young guy that traveled all the time for work. Even as a 2-year-old, he hardly ever slept. He was trying to work and travel and do everything in a short space of time.”
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