Hugh Keays-Byrne death: Mad Max actor dies aged 73

Clémence Michallon
·1-min read
Hugh Keays-Byrne at the premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road in Los Angeles, California on 7 May 2015 (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Hugh Keays-Byrne at the premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road in Los Angeles, California on 7 May 2015 (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Hugh Keays-Byrne, the actor who portrayed Toecutter in Mad Max then returned as a different villain in the sequel Fury Road, has died aged 73.

A representative for Keays-Byrne confirmed to The Independent that the actor died peacefully on Tuesday morning.

Filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, who directed Keays-Byrne in the 1975 film The Man from Hong Kong, announced the death in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“I am sad to report that our friend Hugh Keays-Byrne passed away in hospital yesterday,” Trenchard-Smith wrote.

He saluted “the innate sense of humor [Keays-Byrne] brought not only to my film but every production he worked on”.

“Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager,” the filmmaker added.

“He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity. We will miss his example and his friendship.”

Born in 1947 in Kashmir, India, Keays-Byrne trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company. A production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream took him to Australia, where he settled, in 1973.

Keays-Byrne was featured as villain Toecutter in the 1979 Mad Max, directed by George Miller.

In 2015, the actor told The Independent he had been “pleasantly surprised” to receive a phone call from Miller asking him to return to the franchise as a different villain in Mad Max: Fury Road.

He portrayed main antagonist Immortan Joe in the 2015 sequel starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture.