The Joker arguably established itself as one of most iconic characters in a movie and these Facts about Heath Ledger, the man who gave life to the character of The Joker, tell us the obsession, ingenuity and class of the man who, in the truest sense, did not leave any stone untouched and unturned while preparing for the role. So walk with us down the memory lane that will enable us to reminisce the legend who met with an untimely fate.
1. “Keith Ledger” was the #2 most searched item on google on January 23, 2008, the day after Heath Ledger died.
Heath Ledger died on January 22, 2008 and on January 23, 2008, he was the #2 most searched person on google. 10 of the 20 popular search words, according to Google, were filled with All things Heath. The search strings included his family-former fiancee Michelle Williams and their daughter Matlida Ledger, his apartment address (421 Broome Street), and his most famous movies (10 Things I Hate About You and Brokeback Mountain).
Interestingly, it was observed that Americans didn’t know how to spell and the second most popular search string was Keith Ledger. (Source)
2. Heath Ledger was the first actor to ever win an academy award for the portrayal of a character in a superhero movie.
The Dark Knight was nominated for 8 Academy Awards for the 81st Academy Awards. Heath Ledger won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of The Joker and his win was the first win in any of the major Oscar categories-producing, directing, acting, or writing- for a superhero based film. Additionally, Heath Ledger was the first posthumous winner of the Best Supporting Actor award, and only the second posthumous acting winner ever after Peter Finch posthumously won the Best Actor award for his performance in the 1976 film Network. (Source)
3. Heath Ledger was an accomplished chess player and won Western Australia’s junior chess championship, aged 10
Heath Ledger was an avid chess player who won Western Australia’s junior chess championship at age ten. As an adult, he played with other chess enthusiasts at Washington Square Park. At the time of his death he was planning on performing in and directing an adaptation of the 1983 chess-related novel “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Trevis. It would have been his first feature film as a director. (Source)
4. After Heath Ledger decided he wanted to take his TV/stage acting career to Hollywood, he refused every TV role he was offered. When he was down to only his last $150, he was offered a role in “Ten Things I Hate About You.”
5. Heath Ledger as the Joker scared Michael Caine (Alfred) so bad, he forgot his lines.
During the elevator scene in the movie The Dark Knight, wherein Heath Ledger as The Joker visits the penthouse of Bruce Wayne-played by Christian Bale, his arrival and performance gave Michael Caine such a fright that he forgot his lines. According to Michael, Heath’s joker topped Jack Nicholson’s joker in the sense that Ledger’s joker was a scary psychopath and Jack’s was like a clown figure who could be funny and make you laugh. (Source)