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Heath Ledger's Sister Says Joker Role Didn't Kill Him

It's part of postmodern folklore that the role of the Joker led Heath Ledger down a dark path that ended with his death, but his sister recently revealed that's just a myth.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly at a screening of the documentary I Am Heath Ledger, the late actor's sister Kate Ledger said that her brother's role in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight didn't take an emotional toll on him.

"Everything that came to light about the Joker, we were all so confused," Kate said, noting that the rumors are "so not true."

In fact, she said the role was a bright spot in his life. "He had an amazing sense of humor, and I guess maybe only his close family and friends really knew that, but he was having fun," she said. "He wasn't depressed about the Joker."

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his incredible portrayal of the classic Batman character after he died of an overdose in 2008. It was a performance that his co-star Gary Oldman previously described as "breathtaking."

Oldman said, "I kind of raised my eyebrow at the casting and thought, 'Oh, I wonder how that will be.' But any concerns that one may have had vanished when you got on the set with him. I did a couple of scenes with Heath in the first leg of the shoot in London. I called a friend and he said, 'How's Heath?' I said, 'He's breathtaking. He's going to be astounding.' I could tell just working for five minutes with him."

Ledger's friend Matt Amato, who also produced the documentary, said he hopes the new film goes a long way towards dispelling rumors about the late actor. "I hope it's an antidote to a lot of the gossip that exists in the world," he said. "And there's some really terrible things about Heath out there... Your life, my life, everybody's life, should be celebrated. Heath is a celebrity and in the public eye, and I felt like some corrections needed to be made. But in terms of a film as a tribute, I think everybody deserves that. And I know Heath definitely felt that way about people."

I Am Heath Ledger will air on Spike TV on May 17, followed by digital release on May 23. Watch the trailer below.