Heath Ledger Found Dead


"Brokeback Mountain" actor Heath Ledger was found dead on Tuesday, Jan. 22. He was 28.

The Australian actor was found this afternoon at 3:31 p.m. in an apartment by a masseuse who was let in the housekeeper.

After knocking on the bedroom door and receiving no answer, they opened the door to find Ledger unconscious. They received no response after shaking him and then called the police. Authorities do not suspect foul play, and sleeping pills were found near the body.

Heathcliff Andrew Ledger was born on April 4, 1979 in Perth, Western Australia to Sally Ledger Bell, a French teacher, and Kim Ledger, a racecar driver and mining engineer. He began doing amateur theater at age 10, and by 16, he moved to Sydney to pursue a career in acting. He quickly landed TV movie roles and guest spots on Australian television.

Ledger first attracted attention in the U.S. as the star of the short-lived FOX drama "Roar," followed by break-out turns in the romantic comedy "10 Things I Hate About You" and the rock-n-roll jousting drama "A Knight's Tale."

It was Ledger's performance as taciturn cowpoke Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" that earned the actor his only Oscar nomination. In addition to his Academy nod, Ledger picked up Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award nominations for the acclaimed film.

Ledger was most recently seen as Robbie Clark, one of the Bob Dylan incarnations in Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There." He had completed an eagerly anticipated turn as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's summer 2008 sequel "The Dark Knight."

His latest project was "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," a reunion with his "Brothers Grimm" director Terry Gilliam. The film began shooting in December.

Outside of his film work, the actor started a record company with singer Ben Harper. Ledger directed music videos for Harper ("Morning Yearning") and Australian hip-hop artist N'fa ("Cause an Effect" "Seduction is Evil").

Ledger was linked to several Hollywood actresses and dated Heather Graham and Naomi Watts for longer periods of time. But it was his three-year relationship with his fellow "Brokeback" actress Michelle Williams that produced a child, Matilda Rose, 2. The couple split their time between Brooklyn, New York and Sydney, but eventually they parted ways last September.

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