Heath Ledger, born April the fourth 1979, was an Australian actor and director with great potential. He was seen in some very popular movies such as 10 Things I Hate About You, Batman: The Dark Knight, The Patriot, Brokeback Mountain, and even A Knight’s Tale. He was known for his charming good looks and amazing on-screen performances, and managed to make everything that he played in truly incredible. When it comes to the personal life and details of this beloved actor, whom we all miss dearly, not a whole lot is known by the people who claimed to have loved him as an actor.
Everyone seems to know him best for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight, but there are not very many people out there who know a lot about him as a person. Unfortunately, just months before The Dark Knight was released, and while he was still in the midst of playing in a different movie, Heath suffered a cardiac arrest due to an accidental overdose of prescription medication.
So while these things might not seem relevant to some people now, we believe that the little details of this wonderful actor’s life are more important now more than ever. Which is why we have gone ahead and compiled a list of 15 facts about Heath Ledger that very few people knew about, that is until now.
15 He Dated Mary-Kate Olsen
Heath Ledger certainly was a very handsome man, and he definitely had options when it came to dating. In fact, there are 11 women that we know for sure that he dated such as, Lindsay Lohan, Julia Stiles, Christina Cauchi, and even Heather Graham, but perhaps the most interesting one of all that we have come to learn about is Mary-Kate Olsen. That’s right, before Heath’s passing he was dating the former child star, Mary-Kate Olsen.
In fact, it has become known that he even passed away in one of her apartments. It is said that the couple was very close with one another, and the woman who found Heath even made several calls to Mary-Kate before deciding to call 911 for help. Not many people were aware of this relationship at the time that it was going on, but it certainly was made known after he had passed away from a sad, tragic, and unexpected death.
Mary-Kate has since moved on and gotten married to a man 17 years older than her, and one can’t help but wonder if the couple would still be together today had he not passed away. We may never know for sure, but surely it must be something that weighs heavy on Mary-Kate’s mind at times.
14 He Has A Daughter Named Mathilda
This next one might actually be a little shocking to a lot of people because when we think of Heath, we think of this fun and attractive actor, but it turns out that he was also a father. That’s right, the legend himself had a daughter who he and his wife at the time (Michelle Williams) named Matilda. Heath took off from acting for an entire year in order to help take care of his precious daughter, making it seem to us like he must have been an amazing dad to her.
Matilda was born in the year 2005, making her only 12 years old today. She resides in New York City with her mother, and we can not possibly imagine how hard it must be for this young girl to be growing up without her dad. Heath passed away when the girl was only three years old, so it is safe to say, yet also very sad, that she doesn’t really remember her father that well since children usually don’t realize what is going on around them at that point in life. However, she does have all his movies and interviews that she can look back on to remember how amazing her dad was.
13 A Self-Proclaimed Introvert
Introverts are typically known to be shy, passive people who typically harbor a lot of social anxiety. With the internet and social media being as relevant as it is today, more and more people seem to be becoming introverts due to no longer having to interact with many people face to face. It turns out that Heath was no stranger to these feelings of shyness because he too was an introvert, which not many people ever would have guessed with him being such a popular actor.
Apparently, Heath usually felt painfully shy around new people, and he said in an interview that he just had a really hard time being himself, something that a lot of people these days can relate to.
Of course, when it came to acting he didn’t have to be himself, he was given a role and told what lines to say so it came easily to him.
Although he was able to play the role of an outgoing and social butterfly, he was never actually able to do it himself, which is why acting became so important to him. When he was acting, he really felt his best, because he didn’t have to worry about what other people might think of him.
12 He Almost Didn't Play The Joker
Let’s be honest, Batman: The Dark Knight, never would have been the same without Heath Ledger playing the part of the joker. He played that part so well, that we could not possibly imagine anyone else on earth playing it better than he did. It turns out that he almost didn’t play that part though, in fact, he originally auditioned for the part of Batman.
The producer Christopher Nolan however, decided that Heath would not fit the role of Batman, but that he was, in fact, a perfect match for The Joker. Good thing too, because it ended up being the perfect role for Heath, and it was also his favorite role that he had ever played. Heath worked so hard to fill this role perfectly, and people everywhere were in love with The Joker. Probably one of the first times ever that people were rooting for the villain in a movie instead of the hero, which just goes to show you how amazing he really was. He was dedicated to this role from the very beginning and though he was not offered the part that he originally went for, he was happy with what he was given in the end.
11 He Locked Himself In A Room For 43 Days
The joker had a bit of a different personality. H was definitely insane and Heath wanted to make sure that he would be able to get a better sense for the Joker's personality before he started acting. In order to do so, Heath locked himself inside of a hotel room for 43 straight days, allowing himself zero contact with the outside world. It was just him and some notebook to keep a journal of his deepest and most inner thoughts.
Apparently, those forty-three days of pure isolation must have worked for him, because he seemed to fill the role so effortlessly. We are unsure of whether or not this had any impact on his mental health long term, but it certainly did make him feel a little crazy while he was acting. This is just another example of the lengths that this man was willing to go to make sure that everything he did when it came to his work turned out perfect.
He was probably one of the most dedicated actors of all time and he was definitely taken from us far too soon. You don’t find people who are that committed to their work every day, it certainly is a trait that is hard to come by.
10 His Joker Persona Scared His Cast Mates
Michael Caine is a man who has been around for many of the Batman movies, and he has been a staple to the movies thus far.
However, he had never seen anything like Heath’s version of The Joker and he was not ashamed to admit that this version scared him.
Many people may have believed that Jack Nicholson was the best Joker that there ever was, but Caine claims that there was an obvious difference between the two characters. Jack’s character had a sense of humor, and his makeup was almost like that of a clown but the character that Heath played for the entire world was what some people might refer to as a psychopath.
The first time that Michael Caine saw Heath in full makeup was during the elevator scene. He seemed like such a terrifying person at the time that Michael even forgot his lines. Maggie Gyllenhaal who played Batman’s love interest couldn’t even look at Heath when he came in the room. He scared them both so badly that he proved that he could truly portray a psychopath, but maybe he owes all of that to those 43 long days and nights that he spent locked up in a hotel room all alone.
9 June 22nd, 2008
June 22nd, 2008 started out like any other day, no one would have guessed that the world was about to be robbed of an amazingly talented person forever. June 22nd, 2008 was, unfortunately, the day that Heath Ledger passed away. The cause was ruled to be an accidental OD. Usually, when people hear the word overdose they tend to think that the person who overdosed was a heavy user, but we could not possibly imagine that being the case for Heath.
Although addiction can be a silent disease and as sad as it is, it can happen to anyone. Heath was found by a woman in a New York City apartment, that we have since come to learn was one of Mary-Kate Olsen’s apartments. Apparently, the woman who was checking in on Heath had not heard from him, and he was not answering the door, so she then made several attempts to call Mary-Kate (who Heath was dating at the time) before she finally decided to contact law enforcement to do a welfare check. It was at that time that they had discovered Heath. A sad and tragic day to say the least.
8 His Daughter Wasn't In His Will
When a person passes away there are a lot of things that happen and a lot of people who are affected by it, both emotionally and financially. Before Heath passed away he never had the chance to write his daughter into his will because it was written before she was born, and since no one ever actually expects that their life is going to end he just did not get around to it in time.
Before this, he was working on a film called Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, however, he was unable to finish filming it. This was when his co-stars for the movie, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law decided that they would donate their paycheck to Heath’s daughter Matilda as her inheritance. Talk about a sweet and heartwarming gesture, these guys could not have been more generous than they were, and we are sure that Matilda and her mother were more than grateful for the gift, and always will be.
This was a pure case of actors having the back of another actor long after his passing, showing that people can really stick together in the worst of times. Heath would have been proud and grateful.
7 Winning An Oscar
Heath Ledger’s death, unfortunately, came just months before The Dark Knight was released in theaters, therefore he never even got to see his own greatest work. As sad as that is, his performance in this movie was so great that he managed to get his name put in as a nominee for an Oscar, even though he had already passed away. In the year 20009, shortly after his passing, Heath wound up winning the Oscar for the best performance.
His grieving family then took the stage to accept the award on his behalf saying,
“We would like to thank the Academy for recognizing our son’s amazing work, this award tonight would have humbly validated Heath’s quiet determination to be truly accepted by all you here, his peers within an industry he so loved.”
This award made Heath only the second person in history to have ever received an Oscar after his passing, the first of course, being Peter Finch. This truly was an amazing time in the history of the Oscars that will forever be remembered, as it was one of the last times that he was recognized for his amazing work, and it was done so in an incredibly memorable way.
6 He Was A Hockey Player
When it comes to celebrities we usually know everything that there is to know about them during their time in the spotlight, however, we usually know little about their lives before they stepped into the spotlight. An interesting fact about Heath that not a lot of people seem to know is that from the year 1990 to the year 1992 he was actually a hockey player. In fact, his dad was even the president of the hockey club.
Everyone in Heath’s life at the time thought for sure that he would make it into the big leagues and play as a pro, but he decided to follow his passion for acting instead. It is a good thing that he made that choice too, because he has had such a huge impact in the world, and there are so many movies that never would have been the same had he not been in them. If he had chosen hockey as his career, no one would have known who he was, of course maybe then he would not have left the world so soon, but surely everyone in his life was happy to know him. Hollywood would not have been the same without him, and so we are glad that he chose to follow his passion.
5 ... And Even He Did His Own Makeup
When it comes to acting in television and movies, there is a whole crew of people that put effort into making the actor or actress look perfect for their role. Usually, there is someone who handles the hair, another person for the makeup, and another person for the wardrobe. However, during his role as the Joker, Heath decided that in order for it to be more authentic he would rather do the makeup himself. His reasoning behind this was that the real joker would not have a makeup team backing him up to look perfect, so he headed on over to the local drug store, gathered up some makeup, and did it himself every single day that he filmed.
This just goes to show how good of an actor he was, how dedicated he is, and how serious he was about making sure that everything turned out just right. Understandably so, because if his name is going to be on something, and he is going to be seen in it, then obviously he is going to want it to turn out good. We must admit, he did a pretty good job too, we would never have guessed that he was doing it himself.
4 Preferred Dating Older Women
When it comes to dating it seems that women usually date men who are slightly older than them, and men tend to go for younger women. It seems to be the norm these days, with some couples being the exception. Heath Ledger never did follow the norm though, and the same can be said about his dating life because he hated dating younger women. In fact, he very much preferred his women at least a couple of years older than him. Heath admitted that he didn’t really have a thing for younger girls, because they were still immature and tried to act older, but rather that he likes older women because they tried to act younger and more alive and vibrant while still having the smarts and wisdom of an older woman.
This is really one of those things where everyone seems to like something different and they have their own views and opinions on it. So there is no right from wrong, as long as it stays within the eyes of the law. Some people like to date people their own age, some people like slightly younger people, and others go for the older folks. There is nothing wrong with any of those things.
3 Turning Down Roles
With talent like his, it is no wonder why Heath Ledger would be offered so many amazing lead roles in some pretty big name movies. We have seen his star in things like 10 Things I Hate About You, Batman: The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, and even a Knight's Tale, and he managed to perfect every role that he has played.
Heath was even offered the role of Spiderman in 2002, but he turned it down.
It might be hard to understand why he might want to turn down the main role in such a popular movie, but apparently, Heath felt as though it was not the right part for him. Heath liked being able to feel like he really fit the part of the character that he was playing, which is the main reason that he wound up turning down the role, and who could really blame him. When we think about it now, Spiderman doesn’t really seem like a fitting role for the actor, especially after he played The Joker so very well in Batman: The Dark Knight. Besides, with money like Heath had from everything that he appeared in, he could certainly afford to turn down roles.
2 Aspiring Director
While Heath was a pretty amazing actor and everyone loved him in every role that he played, it was not his true dream to just appear in movies as an actor, despite how amazingly good at it he was. Although his true dream career was not far off from acting, because he actually aspired to be an actor. This was something that he was actually working very hard towards before his passing in 2005. He got to produce a few music videos before his passing which is something that he was very proud of, but his ultimate goal was to direct the movie adaptation of the queen’s gambit.
Unfortunately, as we all know, Heath never did get the chance to live out his true dream. Which is a shame because who knows what kind of amazing stuff he could have come up with and produced had he been given the chance. This was a man full of hopes and dreams, a family, and a career that made others happy. Where it all went wrong, we may never know, but one thing is for sure when it comes to his dreams of directing movies it was certainly a shot that was missed out on.
1 The Heath Ledger Scholarship
Everyone likes to hope that by the time that they have passed away they will have made some kind of lasting impact on the earth and the people on it. Or that they could live on in some way even after their passing, but not everyone can be so lucky to have this happen. Of course, we all know the impact that Heath Ledger had on this earth, but apparently, it went even farther than we ever knew it had. After his death, an Australian film society was so inspired how he had gone from a hockey player in Australia to a world famous actor, that they decided to create a scholarship in Heath’s name in order to help other Australians just like him pursue their dreams of acting.
They went on to name it The Heath Ledger Scholarship, and as we are sure you all know, anyone who ever receives this scholarship is more than ecstatic to do so. This is an amazing way that young people from Australia are given the chance and the hope to pursue the dreams and they have this wonderful actor to thank for it. This is a very touching thing that happened, and surely something that his family was also very thankful for.