Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne dies aged 73

Mad Max actor Hugh Keays-Byrne has sadly died at the age of 73, it has been confirmed. 

A representative for Keays-Byrne, who was best known for playing Toecutter in the blockbuster franchise, confirmed he died peacefully on Tuesday morning. 

The news was first announced in a Facebook post by filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, who directed the actor in 1975’s The Man From Hong Kong. 

Alongside a photo of the late star from a movie, he wrote: ‘I am sad to report that our friend Hugh Keays-Byrne passed away in hospital yesterday. 

‘This photo reflects the innate sense of humor he brought not only to my film but every production he worked on. 

‘He was a fine actor and a good friend to Margaret and myself for 46 years.’ 

Trenchard-Smith recalled spending ‘many happy Sunday mornings’ with the late actor and his partner Christina and other actors from the Macao Light Company. 

Remembering his friend fondly, the filmmaker continued: ‘Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager. 

He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity. We will miss his example and his friendship. Vale, Hugh.’ 

Other tributes poured in for Keays-Byrne with filmmaker Ted Geoghegan adding: ‘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.’ 

Keays-Byrne rose to fame starring alongside Mel Gibson in the first Mad Max movie as villain Toecutter in 1979. He reprised the role in 2015 in sequel Mad Max: Fury Road to much acclaim. 

The actor began his career in Australia with a critically-acclaimed performance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

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