Sunday, February 5, 2012
4295. Joker/ Heath Ledger
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. Created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the character first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940).
Throughout his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a master criminal whose characterization has varied. The original and currently dominant image is of a highly intelligent psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, while other writers have portrayed him as an eccentric prankster. Similarly, throughout the character's long history, there have been several different origin tales; they most commonly depict him as falling into a tank of chemical waste, which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and his lips bright red, giving him the appearance of a clown. He has been repeatedly analyzed by critics as the perfect adversary for Batman. Their long, dynamic relationship often parallels the concept of 'Yin and Yang'.
The Joker has been portrayed by Cesar Romero in the Batman television series, Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman, and Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, which posthumously earned Ledger the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Larry Storch, Frank Welker, Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeff Bennett, Corey Burton and John DiMaggio have provided the voice for the character in animated form.
As one of the most iconic and recognized villains in popular media, The Joker was ranked #1 on Wizard's list of the 100 Greatest Villains of All Time. He was also named #2 on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List, was ranked #8 on the Greatest Comic Book Characters in History list by Empire (being the highest ranking villain on the list) and was listed as the fifth Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard Magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list, also the highest villain on the list. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked the Joker at number 30.
Heath Andrew Ledger (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008) was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career. His work encompassed nineteen films, including 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), A Knight's Tale (2001), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and The Dark Knight (2008). In addition to acting, he produced and directed music videos and aspired to be a film director.
For his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, Ledger won the 2005 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and the 2006 "Best Actor" award from the Australian Film Institute and was nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor as well as the 2006 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Posthumously he shared the 2007 Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award with the rest of the ensemble cast, the director, and the casting director for the film I'm Not There, which was inspired by the life and songs of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. In the film, Ledger portrayed a fictional actor named Robbie Clark, one of six characters embodying aspects of Dylan's life and persona. Ledger received numerous accolades for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards, for which he became the first actor to win an award posthumously, the 2008 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Ledger died on 22 January 2008, from an accidental "toxic combination of prescription drugs". A few months before his death, Ledger had finished filming his penultimate performance, as the Joker in The Dark Knight, his death coming during editing of the film and casting a shadow over the subsequent promotion of the $180 million production. At the time of his death, he had completed about half of his work performing the role of Tony in Terry Gilliam's film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.