It’s been seven years since Heath Ledger’s shock death and while his parents Kim and Sally still struggle with the loss of their son, a special, annual phone call they make helps soothe a little of their pain.
Matt Levett received their call this year.
Levett, a 31-year-old Sydney-raised actor educated at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts in Ledger’s home city of Perth, has been named the 2015 winner of the Heath Ledger Scholarship.
The award was announced at a ceremony on Monday at West Hollywood’s Sunset Marquis Hotel.
“This is an important part of remembering Heath and his legacy,” Levett, stunned he was named winner, told AAP.
The scholarship’s benefactors include Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Liam Hemsworth and Michelle Williams and is designed to give Australian actors a helping hand to make it in Hollywood.
The judging panel included actors Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Vince Vaughn, executive producer Adam Schroeder, directors Kieran Darcy-Smith and Gregor Jordan and casting directors Ann Fay and Laray Mayfield.
Levett received the call that could change his life from Kim Ledger.
“Kim is incredibly supportive of young actors,” Levett, whose credits include the Logie Award-winning mini-series Devil’s Playground, A Place to Call Home and Home & Away, said.
The scholarship includes $US10,000, a two-year scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, Virgin Australia flights, a seven-day Californian trip from Visit California, $US5,000 in visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates and lifetime membership to casting site StarNow.
The scholarship, organised by LA-based Australians in Film, also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry.
Emilie Cocquerel and Lily Sullivan were named the scholarship runners up.
Ledger, winner of a posthumous Oscar for his supporting role as The Joker in The Dark Knight, died in New York in 2008 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.