Aussie actor Tony Barry has died following a long illness.
The beloved Queensland-born film and TV star passed away aged 81, with his good friend New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston announcing the news on Facebook.
“It is with a heavy heart that we farewell Tony Barry who died peacefully yesterday at Murwillumbah NSW after a long illness,” she wrote. “He was one of a kind. A fierce fighter for the underdog, working for indigenous rights and as part of rehabilitation [programs] in the justice system and for the environment.”
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“He considered himself an honourary Kiwi being the only Australian to feature on a NZ postage stamp for his role in Goodbye Pork Pie.
“Diagnosed with melanoma in 2007, he insisted in keeping going, working to the end. A mighty tree has fallen. A warrior is lying down. RIP Tow bar.”
New Zealand actor Sam Neill was among the first to pay tribute to the late actor.
“Tony Barry gone – lovely man, terrific actor and hero of mine. Sad today,” tweeted Neill, who starred alongside Barry in the 1994 Aussie drama Country Life.
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As mentioned by Preston, Barry’s most memorable role came in the 1981 comedy Goodbye Pork Pie, where he played John, a man who decides to drive across New Zealand in his yellow mini to win his girlfriend back.
Barry made his screen debut in the 1968 TV series Skippy: the Bush Kangaroo. He has since racked up 160 film and TV credits to his name, including Break of Day, Beyond Reasonable Doubt and Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia, starring opposite Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
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The actor suffered a health crisis in 2013 while filming the Aussie series The Time of Our Lives where his left leg needed to be amputated after a decade-long battle with melanoma. The surgery was written into the series, with Barry’s character losing his leg after an accident.
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