The Indigenous actor, who was in his late 60s when he died, helped shape the history of Australian film
“It is with deep sadness that I share with the people of South Australia the passing of an iconic, once-in-a-generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film and Aboriginal representation on screen – David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu,” the South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, said in a statement on Monday night.
Gulpilil was from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolŋu people and raised in Arnhem land. In his later years, he was a resident of Murray Bridge south-east of Adelaide.
“An actor, dancer, singer and painter, he was also one of the greatest artists Australia has ever,” the premier said.
Gulpilil made his name in the 1971 movie Walkabout and 1976’s Storm Boy. He was described in a recent Guardian review as a “titanic force in Australian cinema”.
Marshall said Gulpilil’s life was not without struggles. “He encountered racism and discrimination and lived with the pressures of the divide between his traditional lifestyle and his public profile,” the premier said.
The actor was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.
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