Credit: Shutterstock/Heath Ledger

The reason that you dance and sing is to make the audience feel like they're dancing and singing

Heath Ledger managed the transition from teen heartthrob to oscar worthy actor, transforming himself in the process and providing performances that would stand the test of time.

Born in Perth, Australia, Heath didn’t start acting until he hit his teens when he starred in a school production of Peter Pan. His older sister, Kate Ledger, would help to inspire him and encourage his love of dance and performance. Throughout the 1990s, Heath would travel around Australia picking up bigger and bigger roles in television and film, before landing his breakout Hollywood opportunity in 10 Things I Hate About You, a teen comedy loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

That early success might have begun to typecast Heath, but he was a keen actor and after playing a similar handsome lead in a few more films, he branched out and picked up the part of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, the film adaptation of an Annie Proulx short story. It was a tough role with challenging subject matter, but it gained him near-universal acclaim. For the rest of his career he would pick challenging roles in diverse projects including The Joker, the demented antagonist in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight- a role he based on his Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus co-star, Tom Waits, and which won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.