After his performance on stage at the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards, when he had giggled in presenting Brokeback Mountain as a nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the Los Angeles Times referred to his presentation as an "apparent gay spoof".[75] Ledger called the Times later and explained that his levity resulted from stage fright, saying that he had been told that he would be presenting the award only minutes earlier; he stated: "I am so sorry and I apologise for my nervousness. I would be absolutely horrified if my stage fright was misinterpreted as a lack of respect for the film, the topic and for the amazing filmmakers."[76][77]
The next day, at 10:50 am Australian time, Ledger's parents and sister appeared outside his mother's house in Applecross, a riverside suburb of Perth, and read a short statement to the media expressing their grief and desire for privacy.[120] Within the next few days, memorial tributes were communicated by family members; the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd; the Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Eric Ripper; Warner Bros. (distributor of The Dark Knight) and thousands of Ledger's fans around the world.[121][122][123][124]
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^ Boucher, Geoff; Gold, Matea; Lieberman, Paul (23 January 2008). "Ledger's death is a shock to Hollywood, fans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 April 2009. Minutes after the news of Ledger's death broke, several hundred people gathered outside the Broome Street apartment building where Ledger had been living ... television crews and area residents were joined by fans, including some Brooklyn acting students.

Bon Iver's "Perth" was inspired by Heath Ledger.[141] Justin Vernon, the lead singer and songwriter of the American indie folk band, revealed back in 2011 that he had begun working on the song in 2008 and was scheduled to meet with a music video director who was good friends with Ledger, Matt Amato. "The first thing I worked on, the riff and the beginning melodies, was the first song on the record, 'Perth,'" Vernon told Exclaim!.[142] Amato was directing the band's "The Wolves (Act I & II)" music video the day that Ledger died. "It was no longer about just making a Bon Iver music video anymore," Vernon says. "This was now our chance to be there with Matt as he grieved. It was a three-day wake." Amato told Vernon stories about Ledger that eventually became the inspiration for "Perth," the opening track to the band's second studio album Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011).[141]

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On 9 February, a memorial service attended by several hundred invited guests was held at Penrhos College, attracting considerable press attention; afterward Ledger's body was cremated at Fremantle Cemetery, followed by a private service attended by only 10 closest family members,[132][133][134] with his ashes interred later in a family plot at Karrakatta Cemetery, next to two of his grandparents.[131][135][136] Later that night, his family and friends gathered for a wake on Cottesloe Beach.[137][138][139]

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Bon Iver's "Perth" was inspired by Heath Ledger.[141] Justin Vernon, the lead singer and songwriter of the American indie folk band, revealed back in 2011 that he had begun working on the song in 2008 and was scheduled to meet with a music video director who was good friends with Ledger, Matt Amato. "The first thing I worked on, the riff and the beginning melodies, was the first song on the record, 'Perth,'" Vernon told Exclaim!.[142] Amato was directing the band's "The Wolves (Act I & II)" music video the day that Ledger died. "It was no longer about just making a Bon Iver music video anymore," Vernon says. "This was now our chance to be there with Matt as he grieved. It was a three-day wake." Amato told Vernon stories about Ledger that eventually became the inspiration for "Perth," the opening track to the band's second studio album Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011).[141]
^ Daniel Kreps (29 February 2008). "Footage from Heath Ledger's Nick Drake Video Surfaces". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 March 2008. The video, for Drake's posthumously released song 'Black Eyed Dog,' was filmed by the actor in late 2007 and included in a multimedia instalment about Drake called 'A Place to Be.' The project was only screened publicly twice before the actor's death, and the Ledger family said the 'Black Eyed Dog' video would not be released.
Ledger received "Best Actor of 2005" awards from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his performance in Brokeback Mountain,[21][22] in which he plays Wyoming ranch hand Ennis Del Mar, who has a love affair with aspiring rodeo rider Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.[23] He also received a nomination for Golden Globe Best Actor in a Drama and a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance,[24] making him, at age 26, the ninth-youngest nominee for a Best Actor Oscar.[25] In The New York Times review of the film, critic Stephen Holden writes: "Both Mr. Ledger and Mr. Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable. Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn."[26] In a review in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers states: "Ledger's magnificent performance is an acting miracle. He seems to tear it from his insides. Ledger doesn't just know how Ennis moves, speaks and listens; he knows how he breathes. To see him inhale the scent of a shirt hanging in Jack's closet is to take measure of the pain of love lost."[27]

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Travers, Peter."Sundance: Shock". The Travers Take: News and Reviews from Rolling Stone's Movie Critic, Rolling Stone (Blog), rollingstone.com, 22 January 2008. Includes hyperlinked feature: Video Review: A Look at Heath Ledger's Best Performances (video by Jennifer Hsu, with audio commentary provided by Travers), 1 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008.

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^ Daniel Kreps (29 February 2008). "Footage from Heath Ledger's Nick Drake Video Surfaces". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 March 2008. The video, for Drake's posthumously released song 'Black Eyed Dog,' was filmed by the actor in late 2007 and included in a multimedia instalment about Drake called 'A Place to Be.' The project was only screened publicly twice before the actor's death, and the Ledger family said the 'Black Eyed Dog' video would not be released.

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"Some people find their shtick," Ledger reflected on the categorisation of style. "I never figured out who 'Heath Ledger' is on film: 'This is what you expect when you hire me, and it will be recognisable'... People always feel compelled to sum you up, to presume that they have you and can describe you. That's fine. But there are so many stories inside of me and a lot I want to achieve outside of one flat note."[144]

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Ledger was quoted in January 2006 in Melbourne's Herald Sun as saying that he heard that West Virginia had banned Brokeback Mountain, which it had not; actually, a cinema in Utah had banned the film.[78] He had also referred mistakenly to West Virginia's having had lynchings as recently as the 1980s, but state scholars disputed his statement, observing that, whereas lynchings did occur in Alabama as recently as 1981, according to "the director of state archives and history" quoted in The Charleston Gazette, "The last documented lynching in West Virginia took place in Lewisburg in 1931."[79]

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After Ledger's death, in response to some press reports about his will, filed in New York City on 28 February 2008,[103][104] and his daughter's access to his financial legacy, his father, Kim Ledger, said that he considered the financial well-being of Heath's daughter Matilda Rose an "absolute priority", whilst also stating that her mother, Michelle Williams, was "an integral part of our family". He added, "They will be taken care of and that's how Heath would want it to be".[105] Some of Ledger's relatives may be challenging the legal status of his will signed in 2003, prior to his involvement with Williams and the birth of their daughter and not updated to include them, which divides half of his estate between his parents and half among his siblings; they claim that there is a second, unsigned will, which leaves most of that estate to Matilda Rose.[106][107] Williams' father, Larry Williams, has also joined the controversy about Ledger's will as it was filed in New York City soon after his death.[108]

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"Some people find their shtick," Ledger reflected on the categorisation of style. "I never figured out who 'Heath Ledger' is on film: 'This is what you expect when you hire me, and it will be recognisable'... People always feel compelled to sum you up, to presume that they have you and can describe you. That's fine. But there are so many stories inside of me and a lot I want to achieve outside of one flat note."[144]
Portraying a variety of roles, from romantic heroes to the reluctantly oppressed, Ledger created a hodgepodge of characters that are deliberately unlike one another, stating "I feel like I am wasting my time if I repeat myself". He also reflected on his inability to be happy with his work, "I feel the same thing about everything I do. The day I say, 'It's good' is the day I should start doing something else."[144] Ledger liked to wait between jobs so that he would start creatively hungry on new projects.[145] In his own words, acting was about harnessing "the infinite power of belief,"[143] thus using belief as a tool for creating.

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^ Cazzulino, Michelle (29 March 2008). "Heath Ledger's Gambit to Be a Director". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2008. It was an opportunity tailor-made for Ledger, Scott said. 'The movie is about chess, and what is a little known fact is Heath was very close to being on the grandmasters level. He was a chess whiz, and he intended to get his grandmaster rating before he started shooting the picture.' However Australian grandmasters Ian Rogers described the claims of Ledger being close to grandmaster strength as "ridiculous and false claims, disproved multiple times", Tweet by Ian Rogers, 28 July 2018.
On 11 December 2008, it was announced that Ledger had been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight; he subsequently won the award at the 66th Golden Globe Awards ceremony telecast on NBC on 11 January 2009 with Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan accepting on his behalf.[12][32] 

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On 4 August 2008, citing unnamed sources, Murray Weiss, of the New York Post, first reported that Mary-Kate Olsen had "refused [through her attorney, Michael C. Miller] to be interviewed by federal investigators probing the accidental drug death of her close friend Heath Ledger ... [without] ... immunity from prosecution" and that, when asked about the matter, Miller at first declined further comment.[94][95] Later that day, after the police confirmed the gist of Weiss's account to the Associated Press, Miller issued a statement denying that Olsen supplied Ledger with the drugs causing his death and asserting that she did not know their source.[96][97] In his statement, Miller said specifically, "Despite tabloid speculation, Mary-Kate Olsen had nothing whatsoever to do with the drugs found in Heath Ledger's home or his body, and she does not know where he obtained them," emphasizing that media "descriptions [attributed to an unidentified source] are incomplete and inaccurate."[98]
Mahbub had business at Quetta, and there Kim, as Mahbub admitted, earned his keep, and perhaps a little over, by spending four curious days as scullion in the house of a fat Commissariat sergeant, from whose office-box, in an auspicious moment, he removed a little vellum ledger which he copied out - it seemed to deal entirely with cattle and camel sales - by moonlight, lying behind an outhouse, all through one hot night.

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^ Nick Squires (1 April 2008). "Heath Ledger 'fathered a secret love child' ". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 6 August 2008. If the claims are proved to be true, Ledger's multi-million pound estate would have to be divided between the child he fathered in his teens and his two-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, whose mother is Hollywood actress Michelle Williams. ... The actor's parents, Kim and Sally Ledger, have declined to comment on the reports [based on comments by other family members, including his uncle Haydn Ledger]. 

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Ledger had aspirations to become a film director and had made some music videos with his production company The Masses, which director Todd Haynes praised highly in his tribute to Ledger upon accepting the ISP Robert Altman Award, which Ledger posthumously shared, on 23 February 2008.[36][30] In 2006, Ledger directed music videos for the title track on Australian hip hop artist N'fa's CD debut solo album Cause An Effect[37] and for the single "Seduction Is Evil (She's Hot)".[38][39] Later that year, Ledger inaugurated a new record label, The Masses Music, with singer Ben Harper and also directed a music video for Harper's song "Morning Yearning".[31][40]
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^ "A Place To Be: Reflections Of Nick Drake". A Place To Be. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2008. A Place To Be: a collection, a celebration, in film, photography, painting, drawing and prose, of the impact the music of Nick Drake has had on other artists ("Introductory film" includes excerpts of the music video, Black Eyed Dog, by Heath Ledger, among others.)
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g Wills, Dominic (2008). "Heath Ledger Biography". Tiscali TV. US. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2008. The Ledger name was well-known in Perth, the family having run a foundry that provided much of the raw material for the famous Perth to Kalgoorlie Pipeline ... The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust, named after Heath's great-grandfather, was renowned for granting funds to the area's universities, paying for visiting lecturers and scholarships for gifted students.

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Ledger died on the afternoon of 22 January 2008[6][1] due to a drug overdose.[8][9][10] A few months before his death, Ledger had finished filming his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. At the time of his death, The Dark Knight was in its editing-phase and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was in the midst of filming, in which he was playing his last role as Tony. His untimely death also affected the subsequent promotion of The Dark Knight.[11] His role as the Joker in The Dark Knight earned him widespread acclaim and popularity from both fans and critics alike, and is often regarded as one of the greatest performances in film history. Ledger also received numerous posthumous accolades for his performance in The Dark Knight, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards, the 2008 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture,[12] and the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.[5]

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Ledger was quoted in January 2006 in Melbourne's Herald Sun as saying that he heard that West Virginia had banned Brokeback Mountain, which it had not; actually, a cinema in Utah had banned the film.[78] He had also referred mistakenly to West Virginia's having had lynchings as recently as the 1980s, but state scholars disputed his statement, observing that, whereas lynchings did occur in Alabama as recently as 1981, according to "the director of state archives and history" quoted in The Charleston Gazette, "The last documented lynching in West Virginia took place in Lewisburg in 1931."[79]

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Travers, Peter."Sundance: Shock". The Travers Take: News and Reviews from Rolling Stone's Movie Critic, Rolling Stone (Blog), rollingstone.com, 22 January 2008. Includes hyperlinked feature: Video Review: A Look at Heath Ledger's Best Performances (video by Jennifer Hsu, with audio commentary provided by Travers), 1 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008.

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^ "Home deaths from Drug Errors Soar". CNN. Associated Press. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2008. Deaths from medication mistakes at home, such as actor Heath Ledger's accidental overdose, rose dramatically during the past two decades, an analysis of U.S. death certificates finds. ... The findings, based on nearly 50 million U.S. death certificates, are published in Monday [4 August 2008]'s Archives of Internal Medicine. Of those, more than 224,000 involved fatal medication errors, including overdoses and mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or street drugs. ... Deaths from medication mistakes at home increased from 1,132 deaths in 1983 to 12,426 in 2004. Adjusted for population growth, that amounts to an increase of more than 700 percent during that time.

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