Australian actor and dancer David Gulpilil died on Monday after battling from lung cancer, the government leaders said. He was 68 years old.
David’s career spanned over five decades and gained widest audience with his role in the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee. He was described as a bridge between Indigenous Australia and the other world, who never fit comfortably in either place.
Condolences messages started pouring soon after the news of his sudden demise started spreading. South Australia state premier Steven Marshall said in a statement—“It is with deep sadness that I share with the people of Australia the passing of an iconic, once in a generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film.”
David was born in the early 1950s, his friend and caregiver Mary Hood told media reporters. However, his date of birth was recorded as July 1, 1953 by the local missionaries. David had spent significant years of his life by sleeping in parks in the northern Australian city of Darwin and in prison for alcohol-fueled offences.
While talking to reporters, David had once said that he had never saw a European Australian until he was eight years of age and he also considered English as his sixth language.
David was just 16 years old when he started ceremonial dance performances in the indigenous mission of Maningrida. In 1969, his skill as a tribal dancer was recognized by British filmmaker Nicholas Roeg. Roeg then casted him to play a role in his internationally acclaimed movie ‘Walkabout’.
David started his film career in 1971 in the movie ‘Walkabout’ in which he played the role of a lone youth wandering in the outback.
He also became popular after ‘Strom Boy’ in 1976 and ‘The Last Wave’ in 1977. He was last seen in the remake of Storm Boy in 2019 in which he played the role of the father of the central character in the original movie.