At 16, he sat for early graduation exams, and left school to pursue an acting career with girlfriend Jenna Sorrell. With his best friend, Trevor DiCarlo, Heath made the cross-country drive to Sydney. He returned to Perth for the TV series Sweat (1996), in which he played a gay cyclist. He then starred in the American television series Roar. In 1996, prior to his film debut in the 1997 Australian movie Blackrock, Heath was involved in the short lived Fox Broadcasting Company fantasy-drama Roar.
In 1999, he starred in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate about You and also had the lead role in the acclaimed Australian movie Two Hands, directed by Gregor Jordan. Since then he has starred in The Patriot, Monster's Ball, A Knight's Tale, Ned Kelly, The Order and The Brothers Grimm. In 2001, he won a ShoWest Award for the Male Star of Tomorrow based on his performance in The Patriot, and worldwide release of A Knight's Tale. In 2003, he was named one of Australian GQ's Gay Men of the Year for acting. In 2005, Heath received a "Best Actor in a Drama" Golden Globe nomination for his acclaimed performance in Brokeback Mountain, 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. In the New York Times review of the film, critic Stephen Holden wrote: "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 screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn." In another review in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers wrote: "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." Heath received "Best Actor of 2005" awards for Brokeback Mountain from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.
He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. In the same year, Ledger played a fictionalized version of Giacomo Casanova in Casanova. The film, a romantic comedy which co-starred Sienna Miller, drew mixed reviews from critics and failed to find a significant audience among general moviegoers, though it fared better on DVD. In 2006, Heath was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In Spring 2006, it was announced that he would portray Bob Dylan in the film I'm Not There. Although not actually playing Dylan himself, Ledger along with several other actors will portray different sides of the singer. On July 21, 2006, Heath was officially confirmed to play iconic comic book villain The Joker in The Dark Knight, the sequel to the 2005 film Batman Begins, opposite fellow I'm Not There star Christian Bale.
The film is due in 2008. In 2006, Heath directed three music videos: Cause an Effect and Seduction Is Evil (She's Hot) for Australian hip-hop artist N'fa, as well as Morning Yearning for Ben Harper, with whom he also started a record company, while his first step in the music business was directing Harper's video Morning Yearning. As far as his personal life goes, Heath had a relationship with Naomi Watts, whom he met in 2002 during the filming of Ned Kelly. They started dating in August 2002. The couple ended their relationship in April 2004. Previously, he had dated actresses Lisa Zane and Heather Graham.
He was engaged to actress Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. They have a daughter, Matilda Rose, who was born on October 28, 2005. The child's godparents are Ledger's Brokeback costar Jake Gyllenhaal and Williams' Dawson's Creek castmate Busy Phillips. In August 2007, Us Weekly reported that Ledger and Williams ended their relationship because of their busy schedule.
Neither Ledger nor Williams has confirmed the rumor at the time of this writing. On September 4, 2007, Williams' father, Larry, confirmed to Sydney Daily Telegraph that Ledger & Williams have indeed split. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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