It has been 11 years since Heath Ledger died, but fans are still passionate about the actor and his abilities. A new photo has recently surfaced from a chicken ad he starred in long before he ever made it to Hollywood, reminding us of how lively and talented he was.
Paula Jane Hamilton was a makeup artist in Perth in 1996 who worked mainly on commercials in the area. She was working with Chicken Treat, a popular barbecue chicken fast-food chain in Australia when she did the makeup for acting legend Michael Caton… and a very young Heath Ledger.
As you can see, his smile is contagious, lighting up the photograph with one arm around Hamilton. She says she was cleaning out her office when she found the polaroid and felt that it should be shared.
Hamilton worked on several commercials with Ledger in Australia and said he was always “sweet”, which is something most fans know about the actor.
Later they both ended up in Hollywood pursuing their dreams and ran into each other at a store. Despite Ledger’s fame, he gave Hamilton a big hug and was happy to see her. She told reporters when she released the photograph that she never doubted that he would be a major star. He had “passion” in his eyes and the “it factor” that makes someone great.
Ledger died January 22nd, 2008 in New York City. It’s a shame that he never explored new depression med or alternative treatments because, despite his rising fame and amazing career, it’s clear that Ledger was hiding a deep depression.
In an interview in late 2007, he told a reporter that he had trouble sleeping. He was averaging apparently about 2 hours a night, and even sleep medication didn’t help. He could take to Ambien and be up an hour later, groggy and in a fog but with his mind racing.
His former partner and mother of his child, Michelle Williams, said Ledger had always struggled with insomnia during their relationship. His mind would just “keep going” even when his body was exhausted.
His official cause of death is cardiac arrest brought on by “prescription drug intoxication”, or an overdose. He had separated from Williams, his partner of 3 years, in 2007 and left behind one daughter, Matilda Ledger.
Filming for The Dark Knight had just wrapped up when Ledger died, and he will forever be remembered as The Joker. Initially, after his death, many people blamed this role as what drove him to drugs because he was so immersed in the deeply twisted character.
The Dark Knight, as well as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, were both released after his death. He is also known for his roles in the classic teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale, Brokeback Mountain, and The Brothers Grimm.