Hugh Keays-Byrne

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Hugh Keays-Byrne
Born (1947-05-18) 18 May 1947 (age 70)
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Nationality English-Australian
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1973–2015
Notable work Toecutter in Mad Max
Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road
Toad in Stone

Hugh Keays-Byrne (born 18 May 1947) is an English-Australian character actor. He moved to Australia in 1973 and is well-known there as a television and film actor. Outside Australia, he is best known for his role as "Toad" in the 1974 movie Stone, the main antagonist "Toecutter" in the 1979 film Mad Max,[1] the main antagonist "Immortan Joe" in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road,[1] and "Grunchlk" in the science fiction television series Farscape.

Life and career[edit]

Keays-Byrne was born in Srinagar, in the state Jammu and Kashmir in India, to British parents. His family moved to Britain when he was a young child. He was schooled in England and began his career as a stage actor. Between 1968 and 1972, he had parts in Royal Shakespeare Company productions including As You Like It, The Balcony, Doctor Faustus, Hamlet, King Lear, The Man of Mode, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest or The Enchanted Island and Troilus and Cressida.[2]

His first television acting job was in Britain in the programme Boy Meets Girl in 1967. He went to Australia with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973 with Peter Brook's famous production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and remained in Australia when the tour ended.[1] In 1974, he acted in the TV show Essington, which was followed by big screen roles in films such as Stone (1974), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), The Trespassers (1976) and Snapshot (1979). After acting in the TV drama The Death Train in 1978, Keays-Byrne garnered the role that he is best known for outside Australia: the violent gang leader "Toecutter" in the apocalyptic science fiction film Mad Max (1979).[1]

In the 1980s, he acted in films such as The Chain Reaction (1980), Strikebound (1984), Starship (1985) and The Blood of Heroes (1989). In 1992, he directed and acted in the film Resistance. In the mid- to late 1990s, he did a number of TV roles including in Singapore Sling: Old Flames (1995), Moby Dick (1998) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1999).

In the 2000s, he appeared in the science fiction television series Farscape as Grunchlk, which he reprised for the concluding mini-series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. In 2007, George Miller cast him in an unspecified role in Justice League: Mortal, rumored to be Martian Manhunter. However, the film was later cancelled.

Keays-Byrne returned to the Mad Max franchise in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road, as the main villain Immortan Joe.[1] The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning 6,[3] and Keays-Byrne was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain.[citation needed]




  • Boy Meets Girl (1967)
  • Essington (1974)
  • The Tichborne Affair (1975)
  • The Outsiders (1976), Doyle
  • Say You Want Me (1977)
  • Death Train (1978), Ted Morrow
  • Barnaby and Me (1978)
  • Runaway Island (1982), Lucas the Ratter
  • Treasure Island (1987)
  • Joe Wilson (1988), Bob Galletley
  • Dadah Is Death (1988), Hammed
  • Badlands 2005 (1988), Moondance
  • Singapore Sling: Old Flames (1995)
  • Moby Dick (1998), Mr. Stubb
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1999), McNiff
  • Farscape (2001), Grunchlk
  • Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004), Grunchlk


Year Award Category Subject Result
1977 Logie Award Best Actor Rush Won
1979 Australian Film Institute Award Best Supporting Actor Mad Max Nominated
2012 Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Special Mention Award - Most Egregious Age Difference
Between the Leading Man and the Love Interest
Sleeping Beauty Nominated
2016 AFCA Award Best Supporting Actor Mad Max: Fury Road Nominated
Gold Derby Award Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Villain Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Independent Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. ^ RSC Hamlet Productions at BBC. Retrieved 28 May 2015
  3. ^ Bishop, Bryan. "Mad Max: Fury Road wins most awards of the night with six Oscars". The Verge. Retrieved 29 December 2016. 

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