Photo of Heath Ledger Heath Ledger

Best known for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of a closeted gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain (2005), Heath Ledger was born April 4, 1979, in Perth, Australia.

Ledger began his acting career in Australian soap operas before making his American debut in the teen romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) and went on to appear in commercially successful fare such as The Patriot (2000) and A Knight's Tale (2001). But he resisted the path of the typical Hollywood heartthrob by opting for challenging and -- as in Brokeback -- often unexpected roles, including a third-generation prison guard in Monster's Ball (2001), a heroin-addicted poet in Candy (2006) and a troubled actor in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (2007).

Ledger died Jan. 22, 2008, at age 28, soon after wrapping up filming for the 2008 Batman feature The Dark Knight, in which he plays the Joker, for which he won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

2008 PG-13

In this sequel to Batman Begins, the caped crusader teams with Lt. James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to continue dismantling Gotham City's criminal organizations. But a new villain known as the Joker threatens to undo their good work.

  • Heath Ledger in The Brothers Grimm The Brothers Grimm
  • Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Heath Ledger in The Patriot The Patriot
  • Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Heath Ledger in Monster's Ball Monster's Ball
  • Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain
  • Heath Ledger in I'm Not There I'm Not There
  • Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale A Knight's Tale
  • Heath Ledger in Ned Kelly Ned Kelly
  • Heath Ledger in Candy Candy
  • Heath Ledger in Lords of Dogtown Lords of Dogtown
  • Heath Ledger in Roar Roar
  • Heath Ledger in Two Hands Two Hands
  • Heath Ledger in The Four Feathers The Four Feathers
  • Heath Ledger in The Order The Order
  • Heath Ledger in Casanova Casanova