Mad Max: Fury Road’s Hugh Keays-Byrne Dies at 73
The Mad Max franchise has seen a few iconic stars over the years, but one of the most notable was Anglo-Australian performer Hugh Keays-Byrne, the only one to portray two villains across the four films, but ComingSoon.net is sad to report (via ScreenCrush) that the actor has died at the age of 73.
After making his acting debut in the 1967 TV series Boy Meets Girl, Keays-Byrne made the jump to big-screen features in the 1974 outlaw biker film Stone, which Mad Max co-creator George Miller credited as being a major inspiration for the original film and led him to casting the star as the action pic’s central villain, Toecutter. While Miller would go on to move outside of Australia for projects following the third Mad Max movie, Keays-Byrne would mostly remain in the country for other projects including the 1980 disaster thriller The Chain Reaction, the historical drama Strikebound and Australian-American co-produced sci-fi series Farscape and its miniseries finale The Peacekeeper Wars.
Miller and Keays-Byrne were initially set to reunite in 2007 on the writer/director’s in-development Justice League: Mortal as Martian Manhunter, even doing a make-up and wardrobe test for the character, only for the project to be cancelled as the Writers Guild of America strike at the time and continued production delays from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy continued to create problems for Warner Bros. and Miller. The two would eventually reunite for 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, in which he would star as the central antagonist Immortan Joe, becoming the only actor to portray two separate villains in the series, though some speculate he’s a more twisted version of a somehow-still-alive Toecutter. Though not retiring from acting after the film, it would mark his final career performance prior to his death.
Many fans have taken to social media to express their grief over the loss of the star, some of which include: