Mixed feelings for Ledger's family

Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:39am EST
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By Fayen Wong

PERTH (Reuters) - The family of actor Heath Ledger celebrated his posthumous nomination for an Oscar on Friday, but their joy was tempered by the timing, coming as it did on the anniversary of his death in New York last year.

Ledger was nominated in Los Angeles on Thursday for his chilling portrayal of the Joker in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight," which went on to be the second highest-grossing movie in history behind "Titanic."

The Australian actor, who died on January 22 last year from an accidental prescription-drug overdose is in the race to win the Oscar for best supporting actor.

For his family in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia, the nomination was a poignant coincidence, but also a reason to celebrate after a year dealing with his death and controversies over his will.

"Although we would love to have him here with us, we are so proud and so excited on his behalf," his half-sister Ashleigh said in a prepared statement as the family held at wake at Cottesloe Beach, one of the actor's favorite surf spots.

"To us ... it seems like merely yesterday and we are still all nursing broken hearts," said his older sister, Kate.


Ledger died five months before the release of "The Dark Knight," which went on to make $977 million worldwide at the box office. Critics heaped praise on his performance and Oscar buzz quickly followed.   Continued...

<p>Actor Heath Ledger arrives at the premiere of the film "Candy" in New York November 6, 2006. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>