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An Overwhelming 72% Of Fans Voted This Star As The Best Joker Actor

Of all the comic book characters brought to life on the big screen, there may be no casting decisions more hotly debated by fans than that of Batman's most twisted nemesis, the Joker. 

Whether it's an animated version of the killer, a goofy crook clashing with Adam West and Burt Ward, or the darker, more murderous version of the character, the Joker has always been not only one of Batman's most popular bad guys, but one of the most well-known supervillains — or just plain villains for that matter — in all of modern media. The dark joy he expresses both at his crimes and the consequences for his victims, combined with the way his carefree sadism clashes so violently with the stoic exterior of Batman, creates the kind of comic book villain you have to love, just a little bit, as terrifying as he might be.

But who, among all the actors who have played this iconic villain, did the best job? 

Looper posted a poll asking this question, with four iconic Joker actors to choose from. The poll resulted in absolute landslide, with none of the losers coming even close to the #1 choice. Guess who won?

Heath Ledger's Joker wins ... in a landslide

The four actors offered as options in Looper's poll were Jared Leto, who played the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad, Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance in 2008's The Dark Knight, Joaquin Phoenix of 2019's Joker, and Mark Hamill — who first voiced the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, but reprised the role many times in other shows, films, and video games.

Out of over 334 thousand respondents, the winning choice was unmistakable — a whopping 72% of those polled preferred Heath Ledger as the Joker to anyone else. Whether you agree with the first place choice or not, it's clear that Ledger's popularity wasn't won easily. Ledger died six months before the release of The Dark Knight, and many continue to believe the psychological toll of playing the Joker contributed to his early death. This urban legend is, however, something of a false fact — in reality, Ledger had suffered from insomnia for years, and his sister has been outspoken about how much he loved playing the villainous character– but there's no doubt that he took the part quite seriously. In a 2008 interview with Batman actor Christian Bale, Ledger's co-star told The Hollywood Reporter that Ledger was so dedicated that, during an interrogation scene during which Batman beats Joker, he encouraged Bale to hit him for real.

As for the other actors listed, Joaquin Phoenix comes in at a distant second place at 12%. Not far behind is Mark Hamill, at 11%. At dead last, in a way that doesn't give us high hopes to the reaction to his upcoming appearance in Zack Snyder's Justice League, is Jared Leto at 2%.

Meanwhile, 3% of the fans chose "Other" and wrote in their choice for winner. Of these, Jack Nicholson's performance as the Joker in 1989's Batman was the most often cited.