After sitting for early graduation exams at age 17, Ledger left school to pursue an acting career.[16] With Trevor DiCarlo, his best friend since he was three years old, Ledger drove across Australia from Perth to Sydney, returning to Perth to take a small role in Clowning Around (1992), the first part of a two-part television series, and to work on the TV series Sweat (1996), in which he played a gay cyclist.[13] From 1993 to 1997, Ledger also had parts in the Perth television series Ship to Shore (1993); in the short-lived Fox Broadcasting Company fantasy-drama Roar (1997); in Home and Away (1997), one of Australia's most successful television shows; and in the Australian film Blackrock (1997), his feature film debut.[13] In 1999, he starred in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You and in the acclaimed Australian crime film Two Hands, directed by Gregor Jordan.[13]

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Ledger was born in Perth, Western Australia, the son of Sally Ledger (née Ramshaw), a French teacher, and Kim Ledger, a racing car driver and mining engineer whose family established and owned the Ledger Engineering Foundry.[13] The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after his great-grandfather.[13] He had English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.[14] Ledger attended Mary's Mount Primary School in Gooseberry Hill,[15] and later Guildford Grammar School, where he had his first acting experiences, starring in a school production as Peter Pan at the age of 13.[6][13] His parents separated when he was 10 and divorced when he was 11.[16] Ledger's older sister Kate, an actress and later a publicist, to whom he was very close, inspired his acting on stage, and his love of Gene Kelly inspired his successful choreography, leading to Guildford Grammar's 60-member team's "first all-boy victory" at the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge.[13][17] Ledger's two half-sisters are Ashleigh Bell (b. 1990), his mother's daughter with her second husband and his stepfather Roger Bell, and Olivia Ledger (b. 1996), his father's daughter with second wife and his stepmother Emma Brown.[18]
^ 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.
^ "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.)

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