Heath Ledger's 41st birthday: Fans recall late actor's iconic legacy, say what he gave world 'can't be recreated'
An outpouring of love from the fans celebrates what would have been Heath Ledger's 41st birthday. Fans of the late actor have been posting images from his most famous movies, including '10 Things I Hate About You,' 'A Knight's Tale,' 'Brokeback Mountain,' and, of course, one of his most memorable performances as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight.'
"As clichéd as it may sound, you sir, gave the world something that cannot be recreated, reimagined or even re-enacted. You took the madness with you. Thank you for the joker. From applying your make up to shooting scenes, you owned joker," writes on fan, on Twitter.
"You ever think of how many great movies could have been greater if Heath Ledger had lived to be in them?" writes another.
The Australian actor started his career young, with a role in a stage production of 'Peter Pan' at the early age of 10. He moved to the United States in 1998 to more seriously pursue his acting career, landing a role in the now-iconic '10 Things I Hate About You.' He enjoyed a fulfilling career as a photographer, actor, and music video director, that earned him several awards. Most notably, his role as Ennis Del Mar in 'Brokeback Mountain' earned him the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and the Best International Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute.
He received a great number of posthumous awards for his role as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight,' including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, and the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Heath Ledger was found unconscious in his bed on January 22, 2008, by his housekeeper, and was soon after pronounced dead by the paramedics. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of a number of drugs, mixed in with a heavy amount of alcohol. In the days leading up to his death, it had been reported that Ledger had been struggling with severe drug abuse, which is what ultimately led to his tragic passing.
At the time of his death, filming for 'The Dark Knight' had been completed, though he was halfway through shooting 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' - various other Hollywood actors filled in for his role in the movie during sequences set in a more dreamlike world.
A documentary film depicting his life, entitled 'I Am Heath Ledger' was released on May 3, 2017, which included footage from interviews and archival footage of the late actor.
In the wake of his death, one quote of his, in particular, has been making the rounds from an interview in 'The Daily Telegraph,' 'Squaring the Ledger' in 2007: "When I die, my money's not gonna come with me. My movies will live on – for people to judge what I was as a person."
Over a decade after his death, his movies do indeed live on, and his performances have not been forgotten.