At the premiere of the Heath Ledger documentary I Am Heath Ledger, the late actor’s sister, Kate Ledger, addressed rumors surrounding her brother’s death in 2008 that insinuated his intense method acting for the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight triggered the insomnia that required him to take the prescription medication that led to his death.
She told The Daily Telegraph that the role was not responsible for his death, saying, “I was really shocked, because that was him having fun. Every report was coming out that he was depressed and that [the role] was taking this toll on him, and we’re going, honestly, it was the absolute opposite. It couldn’t be more wrong. He had an amazing sense of humor, and I guess maybe only his family and friends knew that, but he was having fun. He wasn’t depressed about the Joker!”
Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on January 22, 2008 due to accidental acute intoxication from prescription medication. The medication found in his system is often prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety, pain, or a common cold.
Heath had just wrapped shooting his role as The Joker for The Dark Knight a few months earlier and rumors began to swirl that his intense portrayal of the character may have led to him developing a bout with insomnia requiring the aforementioned prescription medication.
Heath’s efforts and talent in the portrayal of Batman’s maniacal nemesis did not go unnoticed. His take on The Joker was praised by audiences and critics alike, even garnering him a posthumous Oscar award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. ~Alexa Caruso