Mad Max: Fury Road’s Hugh Keays-Byrne Dies at 73

Immortan Joe in Mad Max Fury Road

Immortan Joe in Mad Max Fury Road

Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan shared the sad news on Twitter this evening.

He wrote: "Hugh Keays-Byrne, an unsung hero of Aussie cinema, has passed away at age 73. Thanks for all the entertainment, sir". Hugh Keays-Byrne is best known in America as Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road - but even many fans of that film don't realize Keays-Byrne also played the villain in the original Mad Max from 1979. 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.

He previously played Toecutter in the original 1979 Mad Max film.

So far, Hugh's cause of death is unknown.

He was born to British parents and made the move to Australia in 1973 to begin his career in film and TV.

Prior to moving, he'd starred in the United Kingdom programme Boys Meets Girl, and had several parts in Royal Shakespeare Company productions.

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Mad Max became a box-office smash and Hugh played the leader of a vengeful motorcycle gang.

"For an old ham like me, it's great fun", the actor told USA Today of playing the Mad Max roles.

When one thinks of the Mad Max franchise, among the people who understandably come first to mind are George Miller, who's directed and co-written all the Mad Max movies, and Mel Gibson, who starred as the eponymous protagonist in its first three installments.

The star worked with the film's director George Miller once again when he appeared in Justice League: Mortal as the character of Martian Manhunter. His Immortan Joe, the brutal warlord of Fury Road's ruined future, became instantly iconic the first moment he appeared onscreen, imploring his War Boys to ride "shiny and chrome" in his service.

When quizzed on whether Gibson's or Hardy's portrayal of Max he preferred, the actor replied: "Comparisons are odious".

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