It has always surprised me how few people are aware of Australian actors working in the movie industry. Most will mention Mel Gibson or Hugh Jackman but a surprising few are aware that Nicole Kidman is from down under and a few other stars. Heath Ledger was an incredibly high profile celebrity death two years ago in 2008, correctly labelled in this book as “the first unexpected celebrity death of the internet age”. The death of a man so young (he was only 28 when he died) and talented (few people are unaware of his role in the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’) brought about masses of speculation and this brief biography by Plexus is the inevitable result. I don’t believe this biography has anything that particularly singles it out from the multitudes of other biographies that I have seen but, despite its short length, the book is an excellent introduction into the life and work of Heath Ledger.
The book itself is only 200 pages and many of these are taken up by glossy glamour shots of Ledger as he progresses through his career so the focus on each period of his life is understandably brief. It’s quite clear that much of the research and quotes are from other articles or interviews but you still learn a great deal about his early life and his family through this various sources. The part that I found most interesting were the sections on his early career within Australia, his family life and struggles in Sydney. Ledger’s father in particular comes across as a very interesting man and I would have like to learn more about his upbringing.
Towards the end of his short life, this book seems to quicken the pace, where only a few pages seem to distinguish between his daughters birth and her 2nd birthday and his death is obviously given much more attention than any other events so the pacing can feel very strange. Truly though, this book is an excellent base for those who just wanted to learn the basics of Ledgers life and I think it would be an excellent springboard to investigate more about the fallen star, even though I don’t imagine much separates it from the countless other biographies that have been released about him.