Some people can remember where they were the day President Kennedy was assassinated and most can remember every detail of September 11, 2001, but the most vivid memory I have is the day Heath Ledger died. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but I swear my heart was ripped from my throat and I cried like a baby. I was in shock and to tell you the truth, I still am. Knights aren’t supposed to die; they are supposed to live forever. I know now that it was all a fairy tale because my knight died January 22, 2008.
The first time I saw Heath he played Mel Gibson’s son in The Patriot. As I watched him I felt his passion for his character. He was so believable and it didn’t hurt that he was incredibly good looking. Yes, I know he is ten years younger than me, but that didn’t stop me from developing the hugest school girl crush, and for the next ten years I followed his career and unfortunately, his love life. I watched every movie he played in, though I must have been extremely dedicated because some were not that great. His love life was also not so hot, which I actually enjoyed. He had his ups and downs but for the most part, he was extraordinary. I truly loved him.
Heathcliff Andrew Ledger was born in Perth Australia April 4, 1979. Heath was of Irish and Scottish decent which was displayed in his glowing olive skin, golden blond hair, and dreamy brown eyes. As a child Heath excelled in sports but when he was ten years old the acting bug bit him when he played Peter Pan at a local theater. In Junior High he began taking drama classes which led to his dream of one day becoming an actor. When Heath turned seventeen he decided to pack up his car and move to Sydney. He arrived in Sydney with sixty-nine cents to his name. He was determined to make it and that he did. He made it all the way to Hollywood, CA with an Oscar nomination for his most controversial movie, Brokeback Mountain (Wikipedia).
Back in Sydney acting roles came easily but they were not huge paychecks or anything more than a brief cameo in a low budget movie. Heath’s first movie was Blackrock. Though he didn’t get much screen time it opened a door for him to be cast in Sweat where he played a gay cyclist who was an Olympic hopeful. Though Heath was not gay in real life, he wanted to choose roles which were unique and that would get him noticed. A few minor roles emerged from his performances such as Far and Away, and Roar.
Things were happening fast for Heath and he knew in order to really make it he had to make the move to Hollywood. Once he arrived he signed with the powerbroker Creative Artists Agency and he immediately began filming the movie Two Hands in which he played the lead in this Australian gangster comedy (IMDB). Though the movie was barely worth mentioning his real big break was on the horizon. In 1999 Heath landed the role in 10 Things I Hate About You opposite Julia Stiles. Although I did not see this movie until much later, it launched his career in America and labeled him as a teen hunk. Heath hated this title and spent the next ten years trying to shake that label and prove that he was much more than a pretty face.
In 2000, Mel Gibson cast Heath in the Patriot, beating out heartthrob Ryan Phillipe, in the $150 million dollar production. Heath played Gibson’s son, a rebellious young patriot that died for his beliefs in freedom. Heath delivered a fantastic performance and secured his place in Hollywood. Health often talked about his experience of working with Gibson and described him as his “idol” (Urban Cinefile). Heath’s next movie was Monster Ball. I remember not caring to see the movie until I heard about Heath’s role. I was so disappointed when I discovered that it was Billy Bob Thorton that was naked instead of Heath. It was truly scary. In Monster Ball, Heath played a very distraught young man who worked corrections in a maximum security jail in Louisiana. Heath’s character Sonny shoots...
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