Film Rewind: Remembering Heath Ledger (VIDEOS)

Five years after his death, Celebuzz takes a look back at the late actor's greatest silver-screen roles.

Ledger Wins Oscar
Just months after his death, he wins Best Supporting Actor. Read More »

Five years ago, hearts broke with the sad, surreal story of Heath Ledger's sudden passing.

Following weeks of conflicting media coverage, an autopsy confirmed that the Australian actor died of an accidental overdose on a cocktail of prescription medications in his SoHo apartment in New York City on Jan. 22, 2008. Not only did he leave behind Matilda, now 7, his daughter with ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams, but Ledger's untimely death at the tender age of 28 cut short a budding career bursting with promise.

After being nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his tear-jerking turn in 2005's Brokeback Mountain, Ledger's legacy gained Oscar glory just months after his life came to an end. The actor collected the Best Supporting Actor award posthumously for his bone-chilling portrayal of Batman's psychotic nemesis, The Joker, in 2008's The Dark Knight, which hit theaters less than six months after his passing.

But before playing the Clown Prince of Crime, Ledger garnered much critical commendation — and moviegoer laughter — for his growing body of work. So on the fifth anniversary of his death, Celebuzz is looking back at the five movie roles that helped Ledger leave his his mark on Hollywood.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) In the romcom inspired by the classic Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew, Ledger turns teen rebel as Patrick Verona, a high school outcast who cuts a deal with hunky jock Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) to try to win over man-hating Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles).

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A Knight’s Tale (2001) In this comedic crowd-pleaser loosely based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Ledger captured laughs as a peasant who crafts a new identity as a knight in the arena of medieval jousting.

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The Brothers Grimm (2005) Ledger teamed up with Matt Damon in this action-adventure about two traveling con-artist brothers whose courage is challenged when they fall upon a genuine fairy-tale curse.

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Brokeback Mountain (2005) In Ang Lee’s acclaimed adaptation of a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx, Ledger pulled at heartstrings alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in the story of hidden love between two young cowboys ripped apart — only to be reunited later in life.

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The Dark Knight (2008) Based on the DC Comics character Batman, Ledger chilled as the clown-faced criminal, the Joker, bent on obliterating the city of Gotham.

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Now weigh in: What was Ledger's best big-screen performance? Explain why in the comments below.

 

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