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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Heath Ledger, 1998 (printed 2017)

Tony Amos

gelatin silver print on paper (image: 100 cm x 125 cm, sheet: 125 cm x 160 cm, frame: 135 cm x 160 cm)

Heath Ledger was born on the fourth of April 1979, in Perth, Western Australia. He was not an exceptional student but showed real talent in his drama classes. Aged 17, left school and headed to Sydney, arriving with a purported 69 cents to his name. His first real acting job came in a low budget movie called Blackrock (1997), which was followed by the equally minor Sweat (1996). He had a short stint in the teledrama Home and Away in (1998) Two Hands (1999) offered him a more challenging role and led to higher profile lead roles in bigger budget films such as 10 things I Hate About You (1999) and The Patriot (2000). He was on his way with the starring role in A Knights Tale (2000) a suitable vehicle for his appealing boyish looks. Ned Kelly (2003) his next big film, flopped badly, which led distributors hesitant to even release it outside Australia. Heath recovered with his role in Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which he was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA. Ledger was found dead on January 22, 2008 in his apartment.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2020
© Tony Amos

Accession number: 2020.20

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Tony Amos

Heath Ledger (age 19 in 1998)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.