The life of burgeoning acting talent, Heath Ledger came to an abrupt end this week after he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment. The Australian-born actor accomplished much in his short life. He was also versatile, from having played a musket-toting colonial in "The Patriot" to taking on the romantic angst of Ennis Del Mar in the groundbreaking "Brokeback Mountain." Drawn from print and electronic sources at the Sacramento Public Library, here are some things that you may have not known about Ledger.
1) Ledger’s full name is Heathcliff Andrew Ledger. He was named after the main character in his mother's favorite book, Wuthering Heights.
2) Ledger’s first acting role was as Peter Pan.
3) Ledger became a state junior chess champion at the age of ten.
4) Ledger dropped out of school after the tenth grade.
5) Ledger claimed that he had “an addiction to moving.” In the words of Ledger, perhaps on account of having had to shuttle back and forth after his parents' divorce, when he was 11.
6) Ledger was offered the role of "Spiderman," but turned it down, feeling that Columbia Pictures was too interested in turning him into a “product.” The role eventually went to Tobey Maguire.
7) Throughout his career, Ledger turned down several roles, feeling that "…Australians have this independent streak," Ledger told Biography magazine's Sheryl Berk. "I want to always have the control to say no when I don't think something is right for me. I want to be able to walk away."
8) Ledger took on the 2002 role “Four Feathers,” because he felt the script was “deep, deep, deep.” It’s the story of a British officer who abdicates his command before a battle and is considered a coward for doing so.
9) Entertainment Weekly called one of Ledger’s last films “I’m Not There,” the best film of the year: “a biopic, an essay, a folk-rock opera, and a dream, all rolled into the headiest musical ever made. It's also the year's most daring vision, though the obsessive head-tickling sprawl of Todd Haynes' sublime meditation on the music and mystery of Bob Dylan wouldn't amount to a hill of guitar picks if the film weren't also so intimate and reverent and moving.”
10) Ledger was a father. His daughter, Matilda, is two-years-old.
For more information on Ledger, we recommend looking at the Biography Resource Center and EBSCOHost, both of which require your library card number and PIN for access. For a list of movies by Ledger, do an author search, including last name first, first name last: Ledger, Heath.