Heath Ledger
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
May 31, 2024 ·  4 min read

Heath Ledger’s Co-stars Gave His 2-Year-Old Daughter Their Salaries as He Did Not Include Her in His Will

Heath Ledger was an iconic actor, most noted for his 2008 role as The Joker in The Dark Knight, shortly before he passed away. Many mourned his death, and no one was heartbroken more than his daughter. The 2-year-old was confused and constantly asked where her dad was. Although Matilda has grown up without him, she is very much supported by his family and friends.

Heath Ledger Became a Family Man

In 2004, while filming “Brokeback Mountain,” Heath Ledger met and fell in love with Michelle Williams. About a year later, their daughter Matilda Rose Ledger made her way into the world. The pair were engaged to be married but split up before making any final wedding arrangements. Regardless of the pair’s situation, both loved Matilda deeply and were thrilled to have such a precious gift.

Some years before Matilda’s birth, Ledger had a will written up, leaving everything to his parents and his sisters. The actor never got around to having it revised before his untimely death. Despite being a loving and attentive father, revising a will is not often something one thinks of until it’s too late. Sadly, this was the case for little Matilda Ledger. It seemed she wouldn’t be getting anything from his will, especially if Heath Ledger’s extended family had anything to say about it. Luckily, Heath Ledger had some incredible people in his corner.

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A post shared by Matilda Rose Ledger (@matildaledgerr)

Friends Hastened to Help

At the time of his death, Heath Ledger was in the middle of filming “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” His passing left director Terry Gilliam with some unanswered questions, such as whether or not to replace the actor and keep filming. Ultimately choosing to continue filming, some of Ledger’s closest friends were cast to fulfill the role. Gilliam said, “Nobody asked how much they would be paid or if the part was right for them. They were all Heath’s friends, and they wanted to make sure the film was finished in his memory.”

Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell were cast to complete the film. Several other actors, including Tom Cruise, volunteered to take over the role but were denied by Gilliam because they weren’t as close to Heath Ledger as the three actors who were cast. Gilliam was unsure if his choice to replace one actor with three was a good financial decision, but it wasn’t an issue. The three actors took very little compensation for the role. Instead, they gave their income for that movie to 2-year-old Matilda.

Their act of kindness and generosity, it seemed, would be the only fund’s Matilda would be given from her late father. However, Fox News reported Kim Ledger, Heath’s father stated, “There is no claim. Our family has gifted everything to Matilda.”

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A post shared by Matilda Rose Ledger (@matildaledgerr)

Money Often Shows True Colors

Unfortunately, as most of us have at least one greedy family member, Kim’s brothers disputed his family’s decision to give Matilda the money. His brothers stated that he wasn’t fit to make financial decisions such as this because he’d been in charge of their grandfather’s estate and hadn’t acted accordingly. Robert John Collins was the acting executor of Heath’s Estate and disputed the allegations against Kim by his brothers. Fortunately, Kim and his family’s decision was ultimately respected, despite his estranged relationship with his brothers.

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A post shared by Matilda Rose Ledger (@matildaledgerr)

Inheriting More than Just Money

It has been 15 years since Heath Ledger passed away, and money isn’t the only thing Matilda got from her father. Their family feels she also got much of him within herself, despite having grown up without him. Not only does she physically resemble him, but according to Kim Ledger, “She’s got an enormous number of his mannerisms. She’s very inquisitive. She’s got his energy ’cause Heath never slept from when he was two, and Matilda’s like that.”

Although things didn’t work out between Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger, Michelle does all she can to help Matilda remember her father. Kim also stated, “Michelle’s been brilliant. She’s kept Heath very much alive in her daughter’s eyes. She’s always full of questions, always wanting to know this or that about her dad.” A relationship between a father and daughter is often indescribably special, and it seems that even now, Matilda feels strongly about Heath Ledger’s role in her life.

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