Celeb News

Heath Ledger scholarship awarded

Upcoming Australian actor Cody Fern has taken out this year's Heath Ledger Scholarship in a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Cody – who made a name for himself as the lead actor in the National Theatre of Britain's production of War Horse – won the annual award ahead of a record field of 20 finalists which included Puberty Blues' Charlotte Best, Home and Away's Axle Whitehead and A Place To Call Home’s Abby Earl.
At a star-studded reception in LA, Cody, who hails from the small mining town of Southern Cross in Ledger’s home state of Western Australia, accepted the award saying how the late Australian actor Heath Ledger had long been an inspiration to him.
Runner up Axle Whitehead with Cody Fern.
"It's hard to put into words just how deeply honoured I am to be receiving the Heath Ledger Scholarship, not just for the invaluable support it offers in my career, but also for what it means to me personally," said Cody.
"Growing up in a small country town, Heath's journey from Perth to Hollywood acts as an inspiration for me, always fuelling my passion and reminding me to dream big. I am so grateful to the Ledger family and Australians in Film for affording me this incredible opportunity."
The scholarship was established to give up-and-coming Australian actors an entrée into Hollywood. Supported by Heath's family, and initially funded by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, the scholarship includes a $10,000 cash fund, a two-year scholarship at Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, two return flights to Los Angeles on Virgin Australia.
The late Heath Ledger with Michelle Williams at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2006.
"When Heath first went to America he spent a lot of time couch surfing in the living rooms of other Aussie actors who had made in-roads there and were happy to give him a leg-up," Heath’s dad, Kim Ledger told The Weekly in an exclusive interview. "And he always repaid that generosity by doing the same for young Aussie actors who came after him. This scholarship is just a natural continuation of that."
Heath died of an accidental drug overdose in January 2008, leaving behind a daughter, Matilda, now eight-years-old, and the mother of his child, Michelle Williams.
Other guests to attend the scholarship award ceremony included Erica Packer, Miranda Otto and Emile Hirsch.

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