Heath Ledger's hometown names theater after him

575-seat cinema dedicated to 'Dark Knight' actor

PERTH, Australia -- The Australian hometown of the late actor Heath Ledger named a theater in his honor Tuesday for his commitment to acting.

The $87 million, 575-seat Heath Ledger Theater in Perth is a fitting tribute because Ledger was always supportive of other young actors, Western Australia state Premier Alan Carpenter said at a naming ceremony.

Ledger died in January at 28 of an accidental prescription drug overdose in New York.

"Heath Ledger was totally dedicated to the craft of being an actor and that's what made him successful," Carpenter said. "I think what we're doing is continuing that support for young people who want to make a career in the arts and acting, stage and in film, whatever it happens to be."

Kim Ledger, the actor's father, called the tribute a pleasant surprise.

"He was such a giver to the arts right across the board. I really feel that there's not a lot of things he'd put his name to, but he'd put his name to that," said Kim Ledger, who attended Tuesday's ceremony.

Kim Ledger said family members would travel to New York this month to attend a screening of "The Dark Knight." Heath Ledger plays the Joker in the movie, his final full film role. The actor's performance has already been lauded by critics.

The renewed attention on his son because of the film has made the family's grieving process difficult, Kim Ledger said.

"It's just been a little more public and the films make it a little more public as well," he said. "It's been a little bit hard, but we've always been extremely proud of his work, and that hasn't changed."

Heath Ledger received a best actor Oscar nomination for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain."

"Dark Knight" opens in theaters July 18.