10 Things I Hate About You
Australian actor Heath Ledger first attracted the attention of American viewers when he was cast as disobedient Patrick 'Pat' Verona in the hit teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). He also received recognition after portraying Mel Gibson's son Gabriel Martin in the revolutionary war drama The Patriot (2000). His outstanding performance handed him a ShoWest Award for Male Star of Tomorrow in 2001. Ledger even gained more notice for acting in the delightful action film A Knight's Tale (2001), the drama Monster's Ball (2001), The Four Feathers (2002), Ned Kelly (2003), The Order (2003) and Lords of Dogtown (2005). Fans will soon see Ledger in The Brothers Grimm (2005), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and the Untitled Casanova Project (2005).
As for his romantic life, one of the 50 Most Beautiful People according to People Magazine (2001) Ledger was previously linked to Roar costar Lisa Zane, model Christina Cauchi, actress Heather Graham and actress Naomi Watts (nine years his senior). He currently dates Dawson's Creek star Michelle Williams. The two are reportedly expecting their first child in fall 2005. Being asked about his relationships, Ledger said, "I don't celebrate love and friendship by giving stuff to people. That's why I don't believe in marriage. I don't believe you should have to prove your love by giving someone a gold ring with a diamond on it."
Childhood and Family:
Son of Kim Ledger (mining engineer and auto racer) and Sally Bell, Heathcliff Andrew Ledger, who was named after the brooding hero of Wuthering Heights, was born on April 4, 1979, in Perth, Western Australia. When he was ten, his father left the family to live with Emma Brown (French teacher) and his mom remarried Roger Bell. Commenting about the divorce, Heath shared, "The point I got to very quickly after my parents' divorce was to realize they were just human."
During his time in the all-boys Guilford Grammar School, Heath Ledger, whose nickname is Heathy, was a talented student. He was a brilliant sportsman who played on the school hockey team and won several awards. Heath also led his schoolmates to become the winner of the national dance competition. At the same time, Heathy, who was the captain of the drama team, discovered he was good at acting. He worked on his talent with the Globe Shakespeare Company and the Guildford Theatre Company in Perth. Heath graduated at 16 and then moved to Sydney with his best friend Trevor DiCarlo.
Off screen, 6'2" inch tall Heath is a sports enthusiast. In his off time he likes playing such sports as hockey, cricket, snowboarding and surfing.
"I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away. I wasn't going to have fun doing a teen movie again...I don't want to do this the rest of my life. I don't. I don't even want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There's so much more I want to discover." Heath Ledger.
Growing actor Heath Ledger realized he was interested in acting when he took a drama class in high school. Shortly after, Ledger, who was supported by his sister, sharpened his acting talent by performing on stage with the Globe Shakespeare Company and the Guildford Theatre Company in his native Australia. On screen, Ledger appeared in Clowning Around (1992) and Ship to Shore (1993,TV). Upon graduation, sixteen-year-old Ledger decided to pursue a professional acting career in Sydney.
During Ledger's early years in Sydney, he was cast as gay bicyclist Snowey Bowles in the TV series Sweat (1996). Though he thought it was a unique character, Ledger did not receive much attention. When the show was quickly cancelled, he had a chance to seek another role in the low budget film Blackrock (1997, as Toby Ackland).
In 1997, Ledger tried acting in Los Angeles where he immediately starred in the drama series Roar (1997, played the role of medieval Celtic Prince Conor). Like his first series, the show was quickly axed. However, the young actor gained his first fans from the show.
At the same time, Ledger had a very brief role as Oberon in Paws (1997) and portrayed surfer Scott Irwin, who was romantically linked to a summer bay girl, in Home and Away (1997, TV).
Blond-haired, brown-eyed Ledger eventually captured the attention of the public when he won the lead role of disloyal Patrick 'Pat' Verona in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, opposite Julia Stiles). Ledger's tricky and fascinating performance in this updated version of The Taming of the Shrew brought him worldwide attention and the film became a hit.
Finishing the decade, Ledger starred opposite Bryan Brown in the Australian action comedy Two Hands (1999, portraying Jimmy).
After his successful performance in 10 Things I Hate About You, Ledger did not want to be typecast. He received a role in the serious revolutionary war drama The Patriot (2000), playing Mel Gibson's son Gabriel Martin. His spectacular performance sealed Ledger's fate and brought him a ShoWest Award for Male Star of Tomorrow in 2001.
Following his high profile in The Patriot, Ledger won the leading role of Sir William Thatcher/Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland, in the jousting fun film A Knight's Tale (2001). After the worldwide release of the hit, Ledger also received high praise for his supporting role as miserable prison worker Sonny Grotowski in the Oscar-winning movie Monster's Ball (2001).
In 2002, Ledger starred in the remake of The Four Feathers before portraying legendary Australian outlaw Ned Kelly in the film Ned Kelly (2003) as well as costarred with Mark Addy, Benno Fürmann, and Shannyn Sossamon in The Order (2003). That same year, Ledger was named as one of the Australian GQ's Men of the Year for acting.
After guest starring in such shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2004), Celebrities Uncensored (2004) and Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2004), Ledger could be seen in Lords of Dogtown (2005), and will soon be seen in The Brothers Grimm (2005, also starring Matt Damon), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and the Untitled Casanova Project (2005). Heath is also scheduled to play roles in the upcoming Candy (2005) and the Untitled Stacy Peralta Project (2005).
- ShoWest: Male Star of Tomorrow, 2001