Heath Andrew Ledger was born in Subiaco Hospital, Perth, Western Australia on April 4, 1979. He is Australian with a Scottish/Irish background and was named after the character Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, as was his sister Katherine. However Heath's full name is not Heathcliffe, and Katherine is often called Kate. At the age of ten Heath's parents, Sally and Kim, divorced. This did not bother the future Hollywood star and by this time he had another two sisters, Olivia and Ashley.
Heath attended Mary's Mount Primary school in Gooseberry Hill during his early childhood and later moved on to boys school Guilford Grammer in Perth. It was here that Heath discovered his passion for field hockey and drama. He excelled in drama, and by the time he was sixteen he had starred in 'Hamlet', 'Peter Pan', 'Bugsy Malone', 'Name of the Father' and 'The Royal Hunt for the Sun'. He tried to concentrate on Shakespeare's plays. He also performed well in hockey. So well infact, that he was chosen to be a part of Western Australia's state team in his age group. It was at this time he was given an ultimatum by his coach -- either pursue hockey or drama. Obviously Heath chose drama, and this choice shaped his life in dramatic ways. It has been said that Heath misses hockey, but has no regrets.
After moving to Sydney, Heath ledger soon found roles in Australian television shows such as 'Home and Away', 'Bush Patrol', 'Corrigan' and 'Ship to Shore'. His biggest break was in hit movie '10 things I hate about you', which was a modern version of Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew'. Perhaps Heath chose to star in this movie because of its Shakespearean roots. After his role in the aforementioned movie, he decided to reject any further teen movies. He wanted to do movies with more depth in their script. Some of his movie and television credits include:
Heath also auditioned for the part of Max on the tv show "Roswell." Unfortunately, the show was originally developed for Fox and since he had already starred in "Roar" which was unsuccessful for Fox, they did not want to hire him.
The actor's love interests in the past have included Australian model Christina Cauchi, Lisa Zane and more notably Heather Graham, who he dated for a little over a year. During the filming of The Patriot, Heath idolised Mel Gibson; the pair 'clicked'. He also admires Gene Kelly and would love to learn how to tap dance.
Editor's note: Heath Ledger died in New York on January 22, 2008.
Thanks to imdb.com for film/tv credits