Vale: David Gulpilil
Pioneering Indigenous actor David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM has died.
Pioneering Indigenous actor David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM has died, aged 68.
Gulpilil was from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolŋu people and was raised in Arnhem land. In 2017 he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and told he only had months to live.
Permission has been granted for his name and image to be used after his death, in accordance with his wishes.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said in a statement, “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 AM.
“An actor, dancer, singer and painter, he was also one of the greatest artists Australia has ever seen.”
Speaking about the documentary, My Name is Gulpilil he wrote: “I was lucky enough to meet David Gulpilil on a number of occasions – most recently in March this year at the Premiere of his last film My Name is Gulpilil, in which he tells his own story, directed by Molly Reynolds.
“This final film, 50 years after his breakthrough on screen, saw Gulpilil credited for the first time in his career as a producer — alongside Reynolds, filmmaker Rolf de Heer and Yolŋu filmmaker Peter Djigirr.
“He was a man who loved his land and his culture, and he was a man who took it to the world.
“My thoughts are with his family, and his dear friend and carer Mary Hood.”
Gulpilil was cast in Walkabout (pictured) in 1971, making him one of the first Aboriginal characters portrayed on the big screen.
His other film credits included Storm Boy (both 1976 / 2019), Mad Dog Morgan, The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, Dead Heart, The Right Stuff, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Tracker, 10 Canoes, Australia, Goldstone, Cargo. In 1987, he was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia.
TV credits include Boney, Homicide, Rush, Skyways, Young Ramsay, The Timeless Land, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Beastmaster, The Leftovers and Pine Gap.
In June a new mural by artist, Ngarrindjeri man Thomas Readett was commissioned by ABCG Film and unveiled on the east wall of TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, on Kaurna Country, Adelaide.
His passing has also been reported internationally including through the Hollywood Reporter.
The family of Gulpilil has advised that his name and image may be used in accordance with his wishes, following his passing.