Hugh Keays-Byrne, Mad Max's Immortan Joe Dies
The actor who helped make Mad Max possible also had his final role with the franchise.
Actor Hugh Keays-Byrne, known for his starring roles in both Mad Max and Mad Max: Fury Road, has died at the age of 73. The cause of death for the Australian actor has not yet been disclosed. Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan shared the news via social media, calling Byrne "an unsung hero of Aussie cinema… [and] an absolutely wonderful human who fought very hard for environmental and humanitarian issues." Filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, a friend of Keays-Byrne's, that the actor died in the hospital.
Hugh Keays-Byrne, an unsung hero of Aussie cinema, has passed away at age 73. I'm continually floored that he played Toecutter, the central antagonist of 1979's MAD MAX *and* Immortan Joe, the central antagonist 2015's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Thanks for all the entertainment, sir. pic.twitter.com/55W99w3wzq— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) December 2, 2020
In addition to actor Mel Gibson and writer-director George Miller, Keays-Byrne shares the distinction of being synonymous with the long-running and still-enduring Mad Max franchise. In the original 1979 version, Keays-Byrne plays the merciless terrorist Toecutter who ruled the outback with his motorcycle gang; in 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, he again played a villain--Immortan Joe.
In the many years between, Keays-Byrne made a name for himself as a versatile actor outside that cinematic universe, starring in films such as 2000's Farscape, 1989's The Blood of Heroes, and 1974's Stone. Mad Max: Fury Road stands as the actor's final role.
Meanwhile, the Mad Max series continues to have a long life of its own. Recently, casting has reportedly started on the long-gestating , which is slated to star Anya Taylor-Joy (The New Mutants, Glass), who steered The Queen's Gambit . Hopefully, the upcoming prequel will also include a tribute to the actor who helped make the franchise possible in the first place.
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