Bill Hunter (actor)
|Born||William John Hunter
27 February 1940
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
|Died||21 May 2011
Kew, Victoria, Australia
|Cause of death||Liver cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Robbie Anderson (m. 1963–1973, divorced)
Pat Bishop (m. 1976, divorced)
Rhoda Roberts (m. 1993–1999, divorced)
William John "Bill" Hunter (27 February 1940 – 21 May 2011) was an Australian actor of film, stage and television, who was also prominent as a voice-over artist. He appeared in more than 60 films and won two AFI Awards. He was also a recipient of the Centenary Medal.
Life and work
During his teens, Hunter was a champion swimmer, and briefly held a world record for the 100 yards freestyle until his record was broken by John Devitt in the very next heat ten minutes later. Hunter had qualified for the Australian swimming team in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia but a bout of meningitis ended his Olympic hopes.
Hunter made his film debut as an extra in 1957 film The Shiralee. An introduction to Ava Gardner saw him gain a job as an extra and swimming double in the Hollywood film On the Beach, which was filming in Melbourne. Hunter claimed that he was inspired to take up acting after watching one of the leads (variously claimed to be either Gregory Peck or Fred Astaire) do 27 takes of a scene, and thinking he could do better. He took an intensive drama course in Melbourne, and then won a two-year scholarship to the prestigious Northampton Repertory Company in England. In 1966, he made his television debut in an uncredited role in two episodes of the Doctor Who serial The Ark.
Returning to Australia in the 1960s, Hunter started out in television, and became a prolific performer in television and feature films, in which he often played the strong, opinionated, archetypal gruff Australian whose exterior belies a softer heart.
Some of his most notable movie roles include Newsfront (1978), Gallipoli (1981), The Dismissal, Scales of Justice (1983), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Muriel's Wedding (1994), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) and Australia (2008). In 2007, he reprised the role of Bob in the Australian touring stage production of Priscilla. He also provided the voice of the dentist in Finding Nemo (2003) and the voice of Bubo in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010). He portrayed United Nations Secretary General Spencer Chartwell in the American science fiction series Space: Above and Beyond. His last film role was in The Cup (2011).
Of acting, 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."
Hunter's first marriage was to Robbie Anderson from 1963 to 1973, with whom he had a son, named James Hunter. His next marriage was to actress Pat Bishop, in 1976. According to writer Bob Ellis, the marriage was short-lived after Hunter ran off with their marriage celebrant. His third marriage was to artist and television presenter Rhoda Roberts, from 1993 until their divorce in 1999.
On 15 May 2011, Hunter was admitted to Caritas Christi hospice in Kew after refusing to go to a hospital. Surrounded by family and friends, he died of liver cancer on 21 May 2011, aged 71.
|1966||Doctor Who – The Ark||Guardian||uncredited, episodes The Steel Sky and The Plague|
|1976||Mad Dog Morgan||Sgt. Smith|
|1978||In Search of Anna||Peter|
|1978||Newsfront||Len Maguire||AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role|
|1978||Weekend of Shadows||Bosun|
|1980||Dead Man's Float||Eddie Bell|
|1981||Gallipoli||Major Barton||AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role|
|1981||Maybe This Time...Maybe This Time||Stephen|
|1983||Return of Captain InvincibleThe Return of Captain Invincible||Tupper / Coach|
|1984||Street Hero||Detective Fitzpatrick|
|1985||Indecent ObsessionAn Indecent Obsession||Colonel Chinstrap|
|1986||Death of a Soldier||Detective Sgt. Adams|
|1988||Rikky and Pete||Whitstead|
|1989||Cassidy||Charles Parnell Cassidy||television movie|
|1989||Fever||Sgt. Jack Welles|
|1990||Call Me Mr. Brown||McNeill|
|1992||Last Days of Chez NousThe Last Days of Chez Nous||Beth's Father|
|1992||Leaving of LiverpoolThe Leaving of Liverpool||Father O'Neill||television miniseries|
|1992||Strictly Ballroom||Barry Fife|
|1993||CustodianThe Custodian||Managing Director|
|1993||Shotgun Wedding||Police Commissioner Andrews|
|1993||Stark||Ocker Tyron||television miniseries|
|1994||Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert||Bob|
|1994||Everynight ... Everynight||Berriman|
|1994||Muriel's Wedding||Bill Heslop|
|1995||Blue Murder||Angus McDonald||television miniseries|
|1996||Cody: Fall from Grace||Sam Wolfe||television movie|
|1996||Race the Sun||Commissioner Hawkes|
|1996||River Street||Vincent Pierce|
|1997||Road to Nhill||Bob|
|1998||15 Amore||Brendan's Voice||voice|
|1998||Difficult WomanA Difficult Woman||Paul Scanlon||television miniseries|
|1998||Echo of ThunderThe Echo of Thunder||Cooper||television movie; uncredited role|
|2000||On the Beach||Prime Minister Seaton||television movie|
|2003||Finding Nemo||Dr Philip Sherman||voice|
|2003||Bad Eggs||Ted Pratt|
|2008||SquareThe Square||Gil Hubbard|
|2008||Australia||Skipper (Qantas Sloop)|
|2010||PacificThe Pacific||James||television miniseries|
|2010||Wedding PartyThe Wedding Party||Priest|
|2010||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Bubo||voice|
|2011||CupThe Cup||Bart Cummings||final film role|
Awards and honours
- Hunter, William John, It's an Honour, 1 January 2001.
- Blake, Jason: Aussie bloke of screen was larger than life, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 2011.
- "Bill Hunter, Actor Who Typified Australia, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Associated Press. 22 May 2011.
- Atterton, Margot; Alan Veitch: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Australian Showbiz (1984).
- Bill Hunter gravely ill with inoperable cancer, Herald Sun, 19 May 2011.
- Bill Hunter faces the final curtain, Herald Sun, 19 May 2011.
- Bodey, Michael: Charismatic wild man of cinema, The Australian, 23 May 2011.
- Muriel's Wedding star Bill Hunter 'gravely ill', ninemsn, 18 May 2011.
- Production notes, The Ark DVD, BBC.
- Preiss, Benjamin (18 May 2011). "Acting legend Bill Hunter gravely ill". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "National Film and Sound Archive: Newsfront on australianscreen online". Aso.gov.au. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "National Film and Sound Archive: Scales of Justice on australianscreen online". Aso.gov.au. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "National Film and Sound Archive: Strictly Ballroom on australianscreen online". Aso.gov.au. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "National Film and Sound Archive: Muriel's Wedding on australianscreen online". Aso.gov.au. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "Bill Hunter to join Priscilla cast". Aussie Theatre. 16 April 2007.
- Bill Hunter, 71, voiced the dentist in Finding Nemo Archived 5 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. blog.bcdb.com, 23 May 2011
- Ellis, Bob: "I don't do auditions, mate": remembering Bill Hunter, ABC The Drum Unleashed, 23 May 2011.
- Queen of arts, The Sun-Herald, 17 November 2003.
- Actor Bill Hunter dies, ABC News, 21 May 2011
- "Mourners farewell acting great Bill Hunter". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- "Australian acting legend Bill Hunter dies from cancer at 71", The Australian, 21 May 2011.
- Quinn, Karl: A man of the people, Hunter farewelled with heart, Bendigo Advertiser, 27 May 2011.
- Feature Film Award Winners 1958–2010 Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Australian Film Institute, 2010.
- "Bill gets a kiss from the packing room". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 April 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2008.