David Gulpilil Biography
David Gulpilil (David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu) is an Australian traditional dancer and actor born on 1st July 1953 in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. He is known for his roles in Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Tracker.
David Gulpilil was awarded the A.M. (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the arts through the interpretation of Aboriginal culture. He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to service to Australian society through dance and acting.
David Gulpilil Age
David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu was born on 1st July 1953 in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia (65 years old as of 2018)
David Gulpilil Aboriginal
David Gulpilil spent his childhood in the bush, outside the range of Anglo-Australian influences. He received a traditional upbringing in the care of his family. When he came of age, Gulpilil was initiated into the Mandipingu tribal group (Yolngu culture.)
David Gulpilil Career
In 1969 David Gulpilil caught the attention of Nicolas Roeg, a British filmaker, who had gone to Maningrida scouting locations for a forthcoming film. Due to his as a tribal dancer he was cast in the movie Walkabout which was released in 1971. The movie earned earned him recognition due to his on-screen charisma, combined with his acting and dancing skills.
David Gulpilil appeared in many more films and television productions. He played a lead role in the commercially successful and critically acclaimed Storm Boy (1976). He “dominated” the film The Last Wave (1977), with his performance as tribal Aboriginal man Chris Lee. He also had a major role in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008).
David Gulpilil initiated and narrated the film Ten Canoes which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Cannes Festival. The prize-winning, low-budget film, based on 1,000-year-old traditional story of misplaced love and revenge, features non-professional indigenous actors speaking their local language. Gulpilil collaborated with the director, Rolf de Heer, urging him to make the film, and although he ultimately withdrew from a central role in the project for “complex reasons,” Gulpilil also provided the voice of the storyteller for the film.
In 2003 a documentary about his life, Gulpilil: One Red Blood, was aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The title was from his quote “We are all one blood. No matter where we are from, we are all one blood, the same”.In March 2004 he appeared at in an autobiographical stage production, Gulpilil at the Adelaide Festival of Arts 2004.
In 2007, David Gulpilil starred in Richard Friar’s hour-long independent documentary, Think About It! which was focussed on indigenous rights and the anti-war movement and included commentary from former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, former Greens leader Bob Brown, and Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.
David Gulpilil Books
David Gulpilil is also a storyteller and has written the text for two volumes of children’s stories based on Yolngu beliefs. The books also feature photographs and drawings by Australian artists and convey Gulpilil’s reverence for the landscape, people and traditional culture of his homeland.
David Gulpilil Dancing
David Gulpilil has organised troupes of dancers and musicians and has performed at festivals throughout Australia, including the prestigious Darwin Australia Day Eisteddfod dance competition, which he won four times. At a conference in Adelaide in the summer of 2000, Gulpilil performed traditional dances and shared his recovery story with hundreds of indigenous young people. He continues to provide mentorship to them, while lending his support to social and political causes such as the pursuit of tribal land claims for indigenous people.
David Gulpilil Walkabout
David Gulpilil Archibald Prize
In 2004 Ruddy won the Archibald Prize for his charcoal drawing of David Gulpilil entitled Two Worlds. The portrait of the Aboriginal actor won both the $35,000 Archibald portrait prize and the People’s Choice Award in both Sydney and Melbourne.
David Gulpilil Interview
David Gulpilil Documentary
David Gulpilil changed the way the Australian screen represents Aboriginal peoples and their cultural heritage. He brought the realism of ethnography into his portrayal of Aboriginality, replacing earlier derogatory and degrading representations of his people within Australian feature films. His presence also ended the reign of non-Aboriginal actors playing Aboriginal character roles.
As an actor, he reached the pinnacle of success in the 1970s with principal roles in a string of award-winning films including Walkabout (1970, directed by Nicolas Roeg); Storm Boy (1976, Henri Safran); and The Last Wave (1977, Peter Weir). He also starred alongside some of the best actors in the world, including Dennis Hopper in Mad Dog Morgan (1976, Philippe Mora). During this time, Gulpilil travelled the globe and mixed with world icons including Bruce Lee, Marlon Brando, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.
Following a memorable role in Crocodile Dundee (1986, Peter Faiman), Gulpilil achieved formal recognition of his services to the arts in the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, being awarded the Member of the Order of Australia. In 2001 he was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for his service to Australian society, through dance and acting, in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
David Gulpilil Movies List
Credited as David Gumpilil
Mad Dog Morgan
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor
The Last Wave
The Right Stuff
Crocodile Dundee II
Until the End of the World
Second Man in Desert
AACTA Award for Best Actor
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor
AACTA Award for Best Actor
David Gulpilil TV Shows
Balinga / Dancer / Tonto / David Ooldea
The Timeless Land
Naked Under Capricorn
The Man from Snowy River
David Gulpilil Net Worth
Gulpilil’s estimated net worth is under review.
David Gulpilil Facts
- His childhood years were spent in the Australian bush, where he attended a village school in Maningrida, Arnhem Land.
- Also a traditional Indigenous Australian dancer, he won the prestigious Darwin Australia Day Eisteddfod dance competition on numerous occasions.
- He is a native speaker of the Mandhalpuyngu language, he grew up in Australia’s Northern Territory as a member of the Yolngu indigenous ethnic group. In 2011, he was sentenced to a year in prison for domestic abuse against his wife Miriam Ashley.
David Gulpilil Honours and awards
Gulpilil was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1987. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001. In May 2014, Gulpilil won a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Rolf de Heer’s film Charlie’s Country. The award was in the Un Certain Regard section, a part of the festival that emphasises original, individual points of view and innovative film-making.
He has twice received the AACTA/AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for The Tracker in 2002 and Charlie’s Country in 2014. He was also nominated for this award in 1977 for Storm Boy. Gulpilil was nominated for the AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Rabbit-Proof Fence in 2002. He was nominated for the Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play in 2004 for the stage production Gulpilil. A portrait of Gulpilil by Craig Ruddy won the 2004 Archibald Prize, Australia’s best known art prize.
David Gulpilil Latest News
Actor David Gulpilil has role in new version of SA movie
Updated: 3rd September 2017
Charismatic actor David Gulpilil, whose career took off in the 1970s after he appeared in Storm Boy, has a walk-on role in the film’s remake.
Gulpilil, 64, plays the father of Fingerbone Bill, the character he made his own more than four decades ago.
“It was lovely, lovely,” said Gulpilil, who recently returned to South Australia from the Northern Territory and is living with family in Murray Bridge, 75 southeast of Adelaide.
Producers of the movie, which has been shooting in South Australia since late July, confirmed Gulpilil’s role.
They said they were thrilled they could feature him in the movie which stars high-profile Australian actors Geoffrey Rush and Jai Courtney, 31.
“David is an Australian cinema icon and an exceptional performer,” Ambience Entertainment producer Michael Boughen told The Advertiser.
“The day he came on set was truly inspirational for everyone and I am just so grateful he agreed to play the role.”
Respected stage and film actor Trevor Jamieson, 42, plays the new Fingerbone Bill, the Aboriginal man who befriends the young Mike Kingley and names him “Storm Boy”.
The new film is a generational shift in the telling of the Colin Thiele story about a boy who lives in isolation with his grieving father and raises three pelicans, among them Mr Percival.
Geoffrey Rush, 66, plays Mike Kingley as a grandfather who tells the story of the pelicans to his troubled granddaughter.
The film flashes back to the 1960s with Courtney in the role Hideaway Tom, and Queensland newcomer Finn Little, 11, stepping into the role made famous by Greg Rowe.
Gulpilil is also appearing in the Australian zombie drama, Cargo, starring UK actor Martin Freeman, about a man trying to save his daughter in the Outback.
Cargo filmed in South Australia last year and will have its international premiere in October at the Adelaide Film Festival.
Storm Boy has been shooting since late July at Adelaide Studios and on location.
Outdoor sets have included the Coorong where Thiele’s novel was set, in Port Elliott and the southern beaches including Port Noarlunga.
It is understood filming is almost complete. The film will be released next year.
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