David Gulpilil Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Actor David Gulpilil? Bio, Wiki

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Who was David Gulpilil?

David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu (c. 1953 – 29 November 2021) was an Aboriginal Australian actor and dancer, known for the films WalkaboutStorm Boy, and Ten Canoes.

He was a Yolngu man who was raised in a traditional lifestyle in Arnhem Land in northern Australia and was a skilled dancer as a young man when British director Nicholas Roeg recognized his talent.

Actor David Gulpilil dies aged 68

Actor David Gulpilil dies aged 68
Actor David Gulpilil dies aged 68

Australian Indigenous actor David Gulpilil has died aged 68.

Gulpilil enjoyed an acting career spanning 50 years, appearing in iconic films such as Walkabout, The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, The Tracker, and Rabbit-Proof Fence before he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall paid tribute to the actor in a statement late on Monday.

“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),” Mr. Marshall’s statement said.

“David Gulpilil was from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolngu people and was raised in the traditional ways in Arnhem land. In his later years, he was a resident of Murray Bridge. He was a brother, son, friend, father, grandfather, and husband.

“An actor, dancer, singer and painter, he was also one of the greatest artists Australia has ever seen.”

Gulpilil was recognized in the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, awarded the Member of the Order of Australia.

Mr. Marshall said his thoughts were with Gulpilil’s family and friend and carer Mary Hood.

David Gulpilil Biography, Wiki

Gulpilil was probably born in 1953, although he states in the 2021 documentary about his life, My Name is Gulpilil, that he did not know how old he was. He is a man of the Mandjalpingu (Djilba) clan of the Yolngu people, who are an Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. 

As a young boy, Gulpilil was an accomplished hunter, tracker, and ceremonial dancer. Gulpilil spent his childhood in the bush, outside the range of non-Aboriginal influences. 

There he received a traditional upbringing in the care of his family. He attended the school at Maningrida in Australia’s North East Arnhem Land. When he came of age, Gulpilil was initiated into the Mandhalpuyngu tribal group. His skin group totemic animal is the kingfisher and his homeland is Marwuyu. After appearing in his first film, he added English to several Aboriginal languages in which he was already fluent.

On 9 July 2006, Gulpilil was staying at the home of Vaughan Williams in Darwin, when an argument started over his drinking (Williams’ home had a “no alcohol policy”). 

Williams asked Gulpilil, his wife, and their friend (referred to as “JJ”) to leave his home. During the argument, Williams and his friend allegedly armed themselves with a totem pole and a garden hoe. In response, Gulpilil produced a machete. Nobody was hurt in the altercation, but Gulpilil was charged with carrying an offensive weapon.

The defendant is an artist and a carver. He used the machete to carve didgeridoos, totem poles, and strip stringybark for paintings, […] There is also evidence he used it to help him build shelters while out bush like he had done shortly before arriving in Darwin.— Magistrate Tanya Fong Lim

On 30 March 2007, a Darwin magistrate imposed a 12-month domestic violence order against Gulpilil over an incident that took place against his wife on 28 December 2006. Gulpilil was ordered not to “assault or threaten to assault Miriam Ashley directly or indirectly”, and to stay away from her while drinking. 

In December 2010, Gulpilil was charged with aggravated assault against Ashley, with the court hearing that he had thrown a broom at her, fracturing her arm. In September 2011, he was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months in prison.

Gulpilil retired from acting in 2019 and was diagnosed with lung cancer, which prevented him from attending the 2019 NAIDOC Awards, where he was recognized with the lifetime achievement award. Gulpilil had two daughters: Phoebe Marson and MaKia McLaughlin.

David Gulpilil Biography Wikipedia
David Gulpilil
Full NameDavid Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu
Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Died29 November 2021 (aged 67–68)
Murray Bridge, South Australia, Australia
Years active1971–2019
Spouse(s)Robyn Djunginy (?–2003)
Miriam Ashley (2004–2021)
AwardsBest Actor in a Leading Role
2002 The Tracker

David Gulpilil Career

David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM changed the way the Australian screen represents Aboriginal peoples and their cultural heritage.

He has brought the realism of ethnography into his portrayal of Aboriginality, replacing earlier derogatory and degrading representations of his people within Australian feature films. His presence also ended the reign of non-Aboriginal actors playing Aboriginal character roles.

As an actor, he reached the pinnacle of success in the 1970s with principal roles in a string of award-winning films including Walkabout (1970, directed by Nicolas Roeg); Storm Boy (1976, Henri Safran); and The Last Wave (1977, Peter Weir).

He also starred alongside some of the best actors in the world, including Dennis Hopper in Mad Dog Morgan (1976, Philippe Mora).

During this time, Gulpilil traveled the globe and mixed with world icons including Bruce Lee, Marlon Brando, John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix.

In Walkabout (1970), Gulpilil embodied the stereotypical image of a ‘traditional’ Aborigine, untainted by western civilization. Over the course of his career, he transformed this constructed identity into a more nuanced and accurate representation of Aboriginality.

David Gulpilil Awards

  • The Australia Council for the Arts arts funding and advisory body for the Government of Australia. Since 1993, it has been awarded a Red Ochre Award. It is presented to an outstanding Indigenous Australian (Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander) artist for lifetime achievement.
  • Gulpilil was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1987.[20] He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.
  • He twice received the AACTA/AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for The Tracker in 2002 and Charlie’s Country in 2014. He was also nominated for this award in 1977 for Storm Boy. Gulpilil was nominated for the AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Rabbit-Proof Fence in 2002.
  • He was nominated for the Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play in 2004 for the stage production Gulpilil. A portrait of Gulpilil by Craig Ruddy won the 2004 Archibald Prize, Australia’s best-known art prize.
  • In May 2014, Gulpilil won a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Rolf de Heer’s film Charlie’s Country. The award was in the Un Certain Regard section, a part of the festival that emphasizes original, individual points of view and innovative film-making.
  • In 2019, Gulpilil was honored with the lifetime achievement award at the 2019 NAIDOC Awards, and Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the South Australian Ruby Awards.
  • During The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival at Winton, Queensland in 2021, Gulpilil was honored with a star on Winton’s Walk of Fame.

David Gulpilil FAQ’s

Who was David Gulpilil?

David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu (c. 1953 – 29 November 2021) was an Aboriginal Australian actor and dancer, known for the films WalkaboutStorm Boy, and Ten Canoes.

How did David Gulpilil die?

Gulpilil died, at his home in Murray Bridge, South Australia, on 29 November 2021, following a two-year battle with lung cancer.

How old was David Gulpilil?

David Gulpilil died at 68.

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