Nicholas Holt, Josh Hellman and Hugh Keys-Byrne star in a scene from the action movie Mad Max: The Road to Rage.
Hugh Keys-Byrne, the actor best known for his role as iconic villains in the Mad Max action movie franchise, has died. He was 73 years old.
On Wednesday, Keys-Byrne’s manager confirmed to USA TODAY that the Australian-English actor died peacefully on Tuesday morning. The manager added that during this time the actor’s family had requested confidentiality.
Keys-Byrne played the villain Toecutter in the original 1979 film Mad Max. He returned to play another bad guy – General Immortan Joe – in 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
George Miller, who directed both films, recalled Keys-Byrne in a statement to USA TODAY.
“Hugh was scary, bold, warm and kind both as an artist and as a person,” Miller said. “He taught us so much.”
Charlize Theron, who co-starred with Keys-Byrne in “Mad Max: Road to Rage,” paid tribute to the actor.
“RIP Hugh Keays-Byrne,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s amazing that you managed to play an evil warlord so well because you were such a kind, beautiful soul. I will miss you deeply, my friend.”
As the vicious leader of the biker gang Toecutter, Keys-Byrne confronted Mel Gibson’s Max in “Mad Max.” The Indian-born former member of the London Royal Shakespeare returned as the masked, monstrous military commander Imortan Joe for “Fury Road”, which raised over 44 million dollars in his first weekend.
Keys-Byrne reflects on the success of the franchise in an interview with USA TODAY in 2015. “I don’t think you think about such things. It looks a little big,” he said, adding that being a villain is good because “for an old ham like it’s great fun for me. “
“I’m always inclined to be bad,” he said. “I long to play lover.”
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Keys-Byrne began her acting career as a teenager, working in television and stage work, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Companyand graduated in Australia in 1973 after a touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became a regular on the big and small screens of Australia before Miller called.
The director signed Keys-Byrne and a group of fellow actors to play Toecutter and his band, but could not afford to fly them from Sydney to Melbourne. So the first director sent them motorcycles by train, and the crew went down, forming a tight group as they walked.
Outside the screen, Keys-Byrne was a housewife for whom the beautiful day involved drawing, writing poetry, or tools in his garden.
“I like to sit around, talk, drink coffee, chat about politics and rubbish,” he told USA TODAY. “Everything is fine.”
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Contribution: Brian Truit
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