Bill Hunter, 71, voiced dentist in “Finding Nemo”

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Bill Hunter

Bill Hunter

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.

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