R.I.P. Bill Hunter

Bill Hunter, the Australian film icon who starred in such classic films as Muriel’s Wedding, Gallipoli and Newsfront, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.

Hunter entered a hospice earlier in the week, and was surrounded by family and friends when he finally passed away Saturday evening.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered her condolences and paid tribute to the beloved actor.

“Mr Hunter played a key role as an acclaimed actor in helping to define Australian culture over five decades on screen and on stage.”

Born in 1940 in Ballarat, Victoria, Hunter made his screen debut in 1970’s Ned Kelly (not including his work as an extra in 1957’s The Shiralee). He would go on to make appearances in the Ozploitation flicksĀ Stone, The Man From Hong Kong and Mad Dog Morgan. In 1978 he won his first AFI award for Best Actor, as Len Maguire in Newsfront. Three years later, he picked up another AFI for his supporting performance in Gallipoli.

The list of legendary pictures starring Hunter goes on: Strictly Ballroom, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Blue Murder, Finding Nemo.

Hunter was most recently heard as a voice in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. He has three films still awaiting release: The Wedding Party, Red Dog and The Cup, in which he portrays racehorse trainer Bart Cummings.

Hunter’s manager Mark Morrissey and his Crackerjack co-star Mick Molloy are organising a memorial service to be held at Princes Theatre this Thursday.

R.I.P.

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