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5 Roles That Turned Heath Ledger From Dropout To Legendary Actor

The Urban List / The Independent

10 years ago, the world lost a rising star too soon, and in that time we have found new reasons to mourn the loss of a talented and heartwarming actor.

Heath Ledger died ten years ago in an apparent overdose to prescription drugs that he had obtained in order to deal with mental health problems he had been suffering.

We remember Ledger for his versatility as an actor, as he famously said "I feel like I am wasting my time if I repeat myself."

In remembrance to his legacy, we'll look back at some of the most defining roles he portrayed in his lifetime, and a few afterwards, too.

10 Things I Hate About You

Ledger does his best to woo a woman (Julia Stiles) so his friend can date her sister and get around her father's weird dating rules. The two end up falling in love when they find that they have more in common than they thought. The bad-boy role has some resemblance to Ledger's own history - the star dropped out of high school at age 16.

Widely considered the film that brought him into the international spotlight, Ten Things I Hate About You proved that Ledger could provide a funny, but touching character in a modern retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

A Knight's Tale

This time, Ledger went into the past to deliver us a story of a man who dedicates his life to achieving a dream, but finds that love and family are more important than titles.

Still, it was pretty hilarious to see the medieval rendition of We Will Rock You!

Of course, it was Ledger's most famous roles that brought the greatest controversies.

Brokeback Mountain

In what may have been one of the most controversial movie releases of the decade, Brokeback Mountain challenged conservative notions of family and love, sparking heated debate due to its secretive marketing campaign.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Ledger play ranch-hands who slowly fall in love after spending time working together. Their relationship continues, even after marriage, and the two must confront their private affair that risks a public scandal.

The Dark Knight

Possibly one of the most popular movies of all time, the second edition to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has consistently received critical praise, thanks to the gripping performance of the Joker by Ledger.

His role was thought to have led to his renewed attacks of insomnia, causing him to seek stronger drugs to deal with his mental fatigue. Many suggest that it was Ledger's attempt to slip into the mind of the Joker that caused his downward spiral.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The final film that Ledger acted in is also by far the strangest. Only two months into filming, Ledger was found dead, and the future of the project was in disarray.

However, friends of Ledger, Johnny Deep, Colin Farrel, and Jude Law offered to step in to finish the movie, filling in as dream versions of the lead character.

Ledger's legacy as a unique personality and creative mind will forever be missed, and we will cherish the work that he left in his short time with us.

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