In the realm of post-apocalyptic films, few compare to the legendary status of Hugh Keays-Byrne. Not only did he play the iconic Toecutter in the first Mad Max film of 1979, but he was also brought back to play the infamous villain Immortan Joe in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
Keays-Byrne died on Tuesday, as confirmed to Variety by his representative. News of his passing has struck the film industry hard today, and many have paid tribute on social media.
— John Herndon (@JohnHerndonJr) December 2, 2020
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. You will be deeply missed my friend. pic.twitter.com/kXDhNs5jEU
— Charlize Theron (@CharlizeAfrica) December 2, 2020
“Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager,” wrote director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who worked with Keays-Byrne before Mad Max. “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, but moved to England and later Australia to pursue theater studies. His professional acting resume stretches all the way back to 1967 and includes such popular works as The Blood of Heroes and Farscape.
Remember him when you look at the night sky.