For many people, American actor Heath Ledger was an absolute legend, a talented thespian who was cut down at his prime. From his award-winning roles to his overall on-screen charisma, Heath Ledger remains an inspiration to people around the world. Some of his most popular roles were in the movies The Dark Knight and Brokeback Mountain.
Hollywood was rudely shocked sometime in 2008 when news of the actor’s death came filtering in. It left everyone completely shattered as he had only just completed the filming of what was to be his greatest work; The Dark Knight. Nevertheless, just like all artists, his work lives on after him. In addition to his life’s work, the star left behind a family and daughter.
‘The Dark Knight’ Was The Beginning Of The End For Heath Ledger
One of Heath Ledger’s best-known works is The Dark Knight, a 2008 superhero film that made a lot of waves around the world upon its release. The movie was actually released after Ledger’s death and it fetched him a lot of accolades from critics who praised his apt delivery.
In The Dark Knight, Ledger played the role of the Joker, a psychopathic criminal mastermind who offers to kill Batman and bring the city to its knees. Ledger’s performance as the Joker received overwhelming praise from critics with one describing Ledger’s role as ‘mesmerizing in every scene’. The movie itself broke several box office records and received both popular and critical accolades and won tons of awards.
However, even though Ledger apparently mesmerized fans with his performance in The Dark Knight, the making of the movie took a toll on his ability to sleep.
Ledger Battled Hard With Insomnia
In 2007, shortly after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, reports emerged that Heath Ledger was finding it hard to sleep. Ledger had given an interview to the New York Times in which explained that he was only getting two hours of sleep at night. According to him, after he finished filming, his mind kept racing. He was always thinking and his body was exhausted.
Also, in the interview, Ledger claimed that to help him sleep, he had to take two Ambien pills because one was not enough to knock him to bed. However, even with the pills, he still wakes up just an hour or two later with a racing heart.
Some of Ledger’s co-stars would later confirm his claim of experiencing insomnia. Christopher Plummer, a Canadian actor who acted alongside Ledger in the 2009 Fantasy/Adventure film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, confirmed that Ledger was taking pills to help him sleep even on set. He was also not feeling well during filming and was always complaining about his sleeplessness. The actor was also said to have had some kind of respiratory illness.
According to reports, friends of the actor were very concerned about his inability to sleep and how this was making him sick and reliant on drugs. Many times, he would call people in the middle of the night because he was still awake when everyone was in bed.
He Was Found Unconcious In His Bed
Eventually, Heath Ledger’s battle with insomnia took a deadly toll on his health. On 22nd January 2008, the actor was found unconscious on his bed by Teresa Solomon, his housekeeper, and Diana Wolozin, his masseuse. Immediately, paramedics and emergency medical technicians were called to revive him.
When the paramedics and emergency medical technicians arrived, they tried desperately to revive the movie star but it all proved abortive and he was pronounced dead at about 3:36 pm a little above 30 minutes after he was found unconscious in bed. At the time of his death, he was only 28 years old. Autopsy and toxicology reports later revealed that Heath’s death was an accident that resulted from the abuse of prescribed medications.
Heath Ledger’s death shook Hollywood to its core as fans and colleagues did not see it coming at all.
How Much Money Did Heath Ledger Make?
Apparently, Heath Ledger was at the peak of his career when he met his untimely demise, so there is no doubt that he was raking quite a lot of money at the time. Heath Ledger has a total of 23 acting credits to his name, with the highest-grossing picture being The Dark Knight.
According to Box Office Mojo, the movie racked up a whopping amount of $535 million at the global box office. Some of his other high-profile movies are The Patriot which brought in a total of $113.3 million and Broke Back Mountain which grossed about $56 million.
At the time of his death, the actor was worth about $16 million. He was bound to get the figure increased if not for his untimely death.
Heath Ledger’s Parents Divorced When He Was 11
Heath Ledger was born to a father called Kim Ledger and a mother whose name is Sally Ledger Bell. Bell works as a teacher and Kim Ledger is a race car driver. According to reports, Heath Ledger’s father is not just a race car driver; he is also a mining engineer whose family is actually responsible for the establishment and ownership of the Ledger Engineering Foundry.
Heath had a sister called Kate Ledger and he was very fond of her. In fact, he credits her for inspiring his love for acting on stage. The late actor also had two half-sisters called Ashleigh Bell and Olivia Ledger.
He Left A Daughter Behind
Before his tragic passing, Heath Ledger had a relationship with American actress, Michelle Williams. The couple first met in 2004 while filming the movie Brokeback Mountain together. They got attracted to each other and soon started dating.
Things progressed quickly and in 2005, they welcomed a daughter. The girl, whom the couple named Matilda Rose, was born on 28 October 2005 in New York City. As expected, Ledger was very fond of his daughter.
Matilda Rose was raised in New York City and her Godparents are Jake Gyllenhaal and Busy Phillips. Ledger and Williams kept their love for some time after the birth of their daughter, however, even though the two moved in together and lived as a family, by 2007 it came to light that they had ended their relationship.