.....Please be upstanding.......................A fine Australian actor has left the stage.............
Veteran actor Bill Hunter has died in Melbourne, his manager Mark Morrissey says.
The actor passed away surrounded by family and friends at a Kew hospice at 8.05pm (AEDT) on Saturday, after battling cancer, Mr Morrissey said.
"He was a fine actor, a true story teller and a great friend. He will be sorely missed," Mr Morrissey said.
‘‘During the course of his long and esteemed career, Bill touched the lives of many people,’’ Mr Morrissey said.
He said Hunter recently summed up his approach to his craft in an interview for the feature film The Cup, in which he played Australian racing legend Bart Cummings.
Hunter said: ‘‘As long as the director told me where to stand and what to say, I was happy.
‘‘Anyone who says there’s any more to it than that, is full of bullshit.
‘‘It’s a job. It is a craft, but there’s no art involved.
‘‘What you need is common sense and a reasonably rough head.
‘‘You put on the makeup and the wardrobe and that is half the performance.
‘‘That upsets the purists but never mind, they don’t work as much as I do.’’
Mr Morrissey said the actor was ‘‘much loved, a gentleman, an inspiration to fellow actors, a journeyman, and a rogue’’.
Hunter’s long-term manager said a memorial service would be held at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne on Thursday (May 26) at 2pm.
‘‘If you are not able to attend, we invite you, whether you are in your favourite pub, a theatre, at home, in country towns, on the land or with friends anywhere throughout Australia, that at 6pm on Thursday 26th you raise your glass as a salute and a final farewell to a great man,’’ Mr Morrissey said.
The 71-year-old actor was admitted to the Caritas Christi hospice six days ago after refusing to go into hospital.
Hunter appeared in more than 60 films, including a role in The Shiralee in 1957.
He starred in iconic Australian films including Gallipoli, Muriel's Wedding, Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in a career that spanned decades and also included roles on stage.
In 1978 he won an AFI award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his part as Len Maguire in the movie Newsfront, which won eight AFIs that year, including Best Film.