Ledger was an avid chess player, playing some tournaments when he was young.[53] As an adult, he often played with other chess enthusiasts at Washington Square Park,[54] though the level of his play has sometimes been exaggerated.[55] Ledger also had a keen interest in the West Coast Eagles, a professional Australian rules football team that competes in the Australian Football League and is based in his hometown of Perth.[56]

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^ It has been claimed that he was Western Australian junior chess champion, but he is not listed at WA Chess Association past state junior champions. Claims that he was near grandmaster strength are certainly an exaggeration: Australian grandmaster Ian Rogers called the claim "ridiculous" (Tweet by Ian Rogers), while American grandmaster Joel Benjamin noted "People outside the tournament chess community commonly inflate the credentials of casual players" (blog of Joel Benjamin).

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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]
After his break-up with Williams, in late 2007 and early 2008, the tabloid press and other public media linked Ledger romantically with supermodels Helena Christensen and Gemma Ward. On 30 January 2011, Ward stated that the pair began dating in November 2007 and their families spent Christmas together in their home town of Perth.[65][66][67][68][69][70]

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He was working with Scottish screenwriter and producer Allan Scott on an adaptation of the 1983 novel The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis, which would have been his first feature film as a director. He also intended to act in the film, with Canadian actress Ellen Page proposed in the lead role.[3][47][48] Ledger's final directorial work, in which he shot two music videos before his death, premiered in 2009.[49] The music videos, completed for Modest Mouse and Grace Woodroofe,[50] include an animated feature for Modest Mouse's song, "King Rat", and the Woodroofe video for her cover of David Bowie's "Quicksand".[51] The "King Rat" video premiered on 4 August 2009.[52]
From 2000 to 2005, he starred in supporting roles as Gabriel Martin, the eldest son of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), in The Patriot (2000), and as Sonny Grotowski, the son of Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), in Monster's Ball (2001); and in leading or title roles in A Knight's Tale (2001), The Four Feathers (2002), The Order (2003), Ned Kelly (2003), Casanova (2005), The Brothers Grimm (2005), and Lords of Dogtown (2005).[19] In 2001, he won a ShoWest Award as "Male Star of Tomorrow".[20]
Ledger was an avid chess player, playing some tournaments when he was young.[53] As an adult, he often played with other chess enthusiasts at Washington Square Park,[54] though the level of his play has sometimes been exaggerated.[55] Ledger also had a keen interest in the West Coast Eagles, a professional Australian rules football team that competes in the Australian Football League and is based in his hometown of Perth.[56]

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^ Michelle Nichols (29 October 2008). "Elvis Ranked Top-earning Dead Celebrity". Thomson Reuters. Reuters.com. Retrieved 10 December 2008. Forbes.com said it spoke to experts and sources inside the dead celebrities' estates and researched gross earnings, before taxes, management fees and other costs, from the period of October 2007 to October 2008 to come up with the rankings. Based on its estimates, Nichols reports, Forbes.com ranks Ledger as third among the world's highest-earning deceased celebrities for that year, following Elvis Presley (1) and Charles M. Schulz (2).

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