Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne dies aged 73

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Hugh Keays-Byrne appeared in Mad Max and Fury Road - the 2015 re-boot

Tributes have been paid to Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne, who has died aged 73.

The late actor played the villain Toecutter, opposite Mel Gibson, in the 1979 post-apocalyptic, dystopian action movie.

British filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith confirmed on Facebook that he had died on Tuesday.

Charlize Theron, who appeared with him in the fourth instalment and 2015 re-boot, Fury Road, said he would be "deeply missed".

"It's amazing you were able to play an evil warlord so well cause you were such a kind, beautiful soul," Theron posted online.

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Keays-Byrne was born in India to British parents and moved to England as a child.

A production of A Midsummer Night's Dream took him to Australia in 1973, where he settled.

After appearing in the original Mad Max, which was made Down Under, director George Miller brought him back for Fury Road, where he played the antagonist Immortan Joe.

In a 2015 interview with The Independent, he said he had been "pleasantly surprised" to get the call again.

And explained that while his original character, Toecutter, had been a member of an "oppressed nomadic minority", Immortan Joe was "a renaissance man".

"He's simply trying to bring order into an apocalyptic world" said Keays-Byrne.

'Generous heart'

Trenchard-Smith, who directed him in the 1975 action film, The Man From Hong Kong, called him "a fine actor and a good friend".

"Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager," he posted.

"He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable."

He added: "His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity. We will miss his example and his friendship."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The stars of Mad Max: Fury Road turned out for its Hollywood Premiere in 2015

Keays-Byrne also appeared in the 1974 biker movie Stone and the 1986 drama, For Love Alone.

The Guardian's movie critic Luke Buckmaster described him as an actor "of visceral, wall-rattling force and underrated talent".

"Every role he took was a revelation," he wrote.

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