Heath Ledger

Today would have been Heath Ledger‘s 40th birthday. And though we don’t need a birthday to remember the legendary artist/human that is Heath Ledger, we thought we’d take this day to pay tribute to his amazing life and immortal legacy.

Just so it happens, the trailer for the new Joker movie was released yesterday.

And while Joaquin Phoenix (the new Joker) possesses outstanding acting abilities which can be seen through the trailer, most of us are finding it really difficult to fall for a new Joker.

Because to most DC fans or even non-DC fans, there is only one Joker that is engraved in our memories forever; and that is the one of a kind Heath Ledger.

Why Heath Ledger will always be THE JOKER?

Although Ledger was not the first nor the last to play the Joker, he has always been considered the best to portray the role to perfection. If you don’t believe it, ask his Oscars.

Heath Ledger

Ledger was the first to win an Oscar for a science fiction character, opening a new door for all superhero movies which were always overlooked by the Academy.

It is said that everyone who has ever encountered Ledger during shooting The Dark Night was terrified of how engrossed he was in the character.

He locked himself in a hotel room for an entire month, honing the Joker’s voice, laughter and psychological twists. He kept a diary for that month in which he wrote sick anecdotes, lines, and jokes that would make the Joker laugh.

He created the scariest villain the screen has ever witnessed and locked himself up with him within the same four walls.

Heath Ledger

And while this unfettered dedication did produce one of the best performances in movie history, and won Heath Ledger an Oscar, it did take a lot more from him.

He gave the Joker EVERYTHING

It is said that during preparing and shooting the Joker, Ledger suffered from severe insomnia which led him to start using sleeping pills. Even after he finished shooting The Dark Knight, Ledger was still struggling with insomnia.

And before he could even see the movie he worked himself to the bone for, he died on January 22nd, 2008, of an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. Struggling with chronic insomnia, the then 28-year-old father overdosed on sleeping pills and passed away before he could walk to the Oscars stage and hold his well-deserved Academy Award.

Heath Ledger

But in our hearts, he lived on as one of the best actors/artists to ever grace our screens.

So, in a nutshell, while Joaquin Phoenix might deliver an incredible performance in the Joker movie, and while he might get us hooked, in the back of our minds, there will only be one smudged and scarred smiling face that will send chills down our spines; it’s Heath Ledger’s.

Ledger’s Other Gems

Heath Ledger

The Joker was not the only role with which Ledger immortally lives on. Before he smeared his face all white and terrified us to our very core with his engraved smile, he demonstrated his iconic wide-ranged talent in several different roles: 10 Things I Hate About You which is still a crowd’s favorite, A Knight’s TaleMonster’s BallI’m Not ThereThe Brothers Grimm, and Brokeback Mountain which was one of the biggest breakthrough moments in Ledger’s career.

Ledger’s Fans

We were not the only ones who wanted to celebrate this legend on his 40th birthday.

Even though it has been 10 years since Ledger broke millions of hearts with his departure from our world, his loyal fans still grieve his death and celebrate his life and undeniable talent to this day.

“A true artist and creative spirit”

Heath Ledger

“I will miss you forever”

Heath Ledger

“You are sorely missed”

Heath Ledger

“Let’s put a smile on that face”

Heath Ledger

Last, no better words to end this tribute than by those of the legend Heath Ledger himself:

“I’m not good at future planning. I don’t plan at all. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow. I don’t have a day planner and I don’t have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future.”

In honor of this immortal artist, let us all today take a page from his book, and live in the NOW, and for now, we utterly miss you.

Happy Birthday, legend!