Bill Hunter, a mainstay of Australian film who voiced the dentist in Pixar-Disney’s Finding Nemo (2003), died Saturday evening in Melbourne. He was 71.
The actor died surrounded by family and friends at a Kew hospice at 8:05 p.m. local time after fighting cancer, manager Mark Morrissey said.
He also voiced Bubo in last year’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, an American-Australian co-production distributed by Warner Bros.
“He was a fine actor, a true storyteller and a great friend. He will be sorely missed,” Morrissey said. “‘During the course of his long and esteemed career, Bill touched the lives of many people.”
Morrissey described the actor as “much loved, a gentleman, an inspiration to fellow actors, a journeyman and a rogue.”
Born William John Hunter in Ballarat, Victoria on February 27, 1940, he was admitted Sunday to the Caritas Christi hospice six days ago after refusing to enter a hospital.
He appeared in over 60 films, including a role in 1957′s The Shiralee. His decades-long career also included stage roles.
Hunter starred in such iconic Australian films as Gallipoli, Muriel’s Wedding, Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Appeared in over 60 films, Hunter won two Australian Film Institute Awards.
He won an AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1978 for his part as Len Maguire in the movie Newsfront. It won eight AFIs, including Best Film.
According to Morrisey, Hunter recently summed up his beliefs in an interview for his last project, feature film The Cup, in which he portrayed legendary Australian racer Bart Cummings.
“As long as the director told me where to stand and what to say, I was happy,” Hunter said. “Anyone who says there’s any more to it than that, is full of bulls***.
“‘It’s a job. It is a craft, but there’s no art involved,” Hunter added.
“What you need is common sense and a reasonably rough head. You put on the makeup and the wardrobe, and that is half the performance. That upsets the purists, but never mind, they don’t work as much as I do.”
Hunter was married to Rhoda Roberts from 1993 until their divorce in 1999.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Hunter’s longtime manager said.
“If you are not able to attend, we invite you, whether you are in your favorite pub, a theatre, at home, in country towns, on the land or with friends anywhere throughout Australia, that at 6 p.m. on Thursday [the] 26th you raise your glass as a salute and a final farewell to a great man,” said Morrissey.