10 Things You Didn’t Know About Heath Ledger

©Focus Films/Everett Collection

Heath Ledger was one of those actors who just wasn’t interested in fame or fortune. Even though his career was on the rise at the time of his death, he didn’t really want to play the game and he didn’t want to be a big star. Since today would have been his 37th birthday, here are 10 things you didn’t know about the late Australian actor:

10. Wuthering Heights

He and his sister Katherine were named after the two main characters in Emily Bonte’s novel, Wuthering Heights.

Source: www.zimbio.com

9. Chess Player Extraordinaire

When he was young, he was an excellent chess player. At the age of 10, he won Western Australia’s Junior Chess Championship.

Source: ggs.wa.edu.au.wincust.webinabox.net.au

8. Humble Beginnings

His mother was a French teacher and his father was a racecar driver and mining engineer. His father’s family established and owned the Ledger Engineering Foundry.


7. Graduating Early

He completed his early graduation exams when he was 17 and then left school to pursue an acting career.

Lisa Fillingham/Newspix / Rex Features

6. Taking a Break

He took a year off of acting when his daughter Matilda was born.

5. Posthumous Oscar

He is the second person to win a posthumous acting Oscar. The first was Peter Finch.

Photo by Picture Perfect / Rex Features

4. Tree of Life

He was supposed to Mr. O’Brien in the Tree of Life. He dropped out a month before his death in 2008 and the part then went to Brad Pitt.

©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

3. Spider-Man

He was the first choice to play the lead role in Spider-Man, but he turned it down and it then went to Tobey Maguire.

Photo by Pip Blackwood/Newspix / Rex Features

2. Brokeback Mountain

His girlfriend at the time, Naomi Watts, was the one who encouraged him to accept the role of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. They broke up in 2004 before filming began and it was on this set that he met Michelle Williams. They were together from 2004 until 2007.

©Focus Films/Everett Collection

1. The Joker

He was Christopher Nolan’s first and only choice for the Joker in The Dark Knight.

©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection


Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.