Heath Ledger is all smiles in a sneak peek video from the new Spike TV documentary I Am Heath Ledger.
The popular Dark Knight and 10 Things I Hate About You actor died at age 28 from an accidental prescription drug overdose more than nine years ago. During the final weeks of his life, he was dealing with his split from Michelle Williams, mother of their then-2-year-old daughter Matilda, filming the The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and battling a pneumonia-type illness and insomnia. He was "exhausted, emotionally and physically," Gerry Grennell, his friend, dialect coach and roommate, told People magazine in comments posted Wednesday.
"He missed his girl, he missed his family, he missed his little girl—he desperately wanted to see her and hold her and play with her," Gerry said. "He was desperately unhappy, desperately sad."
In newly released footage from I Am Heath Ledger, posted on People, a younger and blond Heath is seen looking happy and healthy while goofing around with a camcorder, playing an acoustic guitar and with a basketball indoors while shirtless.
The actor's family and friends have been sharing heartwarming memories of him ahead of the May 27 air date of the documentary.
"I still feel very connected to Heath. I feel connected to him through his beautiful daughter Matilda," Health's sister Kate Ledger told People. "When Heath was around, she looked so much like him, we used to say, ‘It's Heath in pigtails.' Now everything she does, the way she rides a skateboard, reminds me of Heath. For the first five years every time I saw her, I'd be in tears, but now I can be happy and feel her daddy's energy through her."
Matilda is now 11.
Kate Manera, one of Heath's childhood friends, told the magazine that while "Heath wasn't conventional by any stretch of the imagination," he did say, 'I want to be a father.'"
"He was immediately at one with Matilda," she said. "It was as if the shape of his body changed when they were together. They were linked."
I Am Heath Ledger executive producer Matt Amato, one of Heath's closes friends, told People the actor was a "natural" dad.
"He knew what to do with a baby right away," he said. "I said, 'How come you are so comfortable with this?' He said, 'Well, I look at her and try and be her and try to understand what she needs.'"
"I hope she remembers the way he would spin her around and call her darling and her excitement seeing him," he added. "They really did have something wonderful."