Tributes paid to 'Mad Max: Fury Road' star Hugh Keays-Byrne who has died aged 73

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
·2-min read

Watch: Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne has died aged 73

Tributes have been paid to Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne, who has died at the age of 73.

The actor’s death was announced by British filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, who said he died on Tuesday.

Keays-Byrne was best known for playing villain Toecutter opposite Mel Gibson in 1979’s Mad Max. Director George Miller brought him back for 2015 sequel Mad Max: Fury Road, in which he played antagonist Immortan Joe.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07:  Actor Hugh Keays-Byrne arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on May 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Hugh Keays-Byrne arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Mad Max: Fury Road', 2015. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Charlize Theron, Keays-Byrne’s Fury Road co-star, was among those to pay tribute.

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Alongside a picture of the pair together on set, the Oscar-winning actress said: “RIP Hugh Keays-Byrne. It’s amazing you were able to play an evil warlord so well cause you were such a kind, beautiful soul.

Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.)
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.)

“You will be deeply missed my friend.”

In his tribute, Trenchard-Smith, who directed Keays-Byrne in 1975 action film The Man From Hong Kong, described him as “a fine actor and a good friend”.

He added: “Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager.

“He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity. We will miss his example and his friendship.”

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

Hugh Keays-Byrne as Toecutter (Warner Bros)
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Toecutter (Warner Bros)

His other film credits include 1974 outlaw biker movie Stone and 1986 drama For Love Alone.

Mad Max director George Miller paid tribute to Keays-Byrne in a 2015 interview saying: “Hugh created this biker gang with the other actors [for the 1979 film], and they rode around the city for the 12 weeks of shooting as a biker gang.

“And we killed him off in the first movie! So when we had to create Immortan Joe and the cult of all the War Boys, we went to him -- and to work with him again was such a fantastic experience.”

“When Hugh would walk onto set in his costume, the whole crew – not even just the stuntmen – the whole crew would chant, “Immortan! Immortan!" It was such fun – it just lifted everyone’s spirits... cause it was tough out there.”

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