In 2008, the Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, was released in cinemas worldwide to no small amount of fanfare. As the follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins, the Dark Knight was a commercial and critical success, grossing $1 billion worldwide and receiving eight nominations at the Academy Awards.
It won two of those nominations; Best Sound Editing, and Best Actor In A Supporting Role, which was posthumously awarded to the Australian actor Heath Ledger, who died a few months before the film’s release. Heath Ledger played the Joker in the Dark Knight, and his chilling portrayal of the clown-faced criminal thoroughly entertained and unsettled moviegoers everywhere.
Heath Ledger described the Joker as a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy”, and in January 2008, when Ledger died after a cardiac arrest brought on by prescription drug intoxication, many thought that the physical and mental toll of playing such a complex character had contributed to his tragic passing. Over nine years since his death, however, members of his surviving family have responded to those rumours, and paid tribute to their fallen family member.