Harold Hopkins, 1944 - 2011

The Daily

He appeared in several major Australian movies, including Bruce Beresford's Don's Party (1976) and The Club (1980) and Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981), but I've only just now caught up with the news that Harold Hopkins died on Sunday, December 11. I have Simon de Bruyn to thank, who posted the video above at Twitch, noting that, in 1998, Hopkins "took a role in a 25 minute low budget short film called Bloodlock, made by a young upcoming group of filmmakers called Blue Tongue Films. These days Blue Tongue are known as the outfit responsible for films such as Animal Kingdom, The Square and Hesher, and the upcoming Sundance opener Wish You Were Here. But back then they were just starting out in Sydney as filmmakers. The Blue Tongue team has decided to express their gratitude and resulting friendship with Hopkins by creating a wonderful video tribute." De Bruyn's also embedded Blooklock in that Twitch entry.

Hopkins was 67 and contracted the the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma when, just after high school, he took on a job that had him working "with asbestos sheeting as an apprentice carpenter in south-east Queensland in the early 1960s," as the Herald Sun reports. "Hopkins's brother-in-law Rowland Hill said he had auditioned for a role in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film The Great Gatsby in May, just days after he had been diagnosed with the cancer. It was Hopkins's chance to strut his skills in the role of Henry C Gatz — Gatsby's estranged father — in a 1920s suit and fedora. Hopkins knew he would never be able to play the character, but he seized the opportunity anyway."

"Beresford, a close friend, said the Australian acting fraternity had lost one its best," reports Tim Douglas. "'He had this charisma… I always thought he'd be a huge star. He was just a great actor,' he told The Australian from India. 'As a director, you work with a lot of people, but you don't always become great friends. We were great mates.'"

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