David Dalaithngu dies at 68

Indigenous Australian actor loses cancer fight

by Amber Wilkinson

Warning: This article contains the name of a deceased Indigenous person

Indigenous Australian actor David Dalaithngu has died at the age of 68, four years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The star - from the Mandhalpingu clan of the Yolŋu people - rose to prominence after starring in Nicholas Roeg's 1971 film Walkabout. He went on to appear in a string of international blockbusters, including Rabbit-Proof Fence, Crocodile Dundee and Goldstone. He was better known under a stage name that for indigenous cultural reasons cannot be used.

The star's death was confirmed by South Australian premier Steven Marshall, who said: “It is with deep sadness that I share with the people of South Australia the passing of an iconic, once-in-a-generation artist who shaped the history of Australian film and Aboriginal representation on screen – David Dalaithngu AM."

He added: "He was a man who loved his land and his culture, and he was a man who took it to the world."

Dalaithngu's additional films included Ten Canoes, The Proposition and The Tracker and he won a Best Actor prize at Cannes for his role in Charlie’s Country.

Actor Hugh Jackman, who appeared with Dalaithngu in the Baz Luhrmann movie Australia, paid tribute to the star.

"I join all Australians, and the world over, in mourning the loss of David Dalaithngu," he posted on Instagram.

The actor's final film was a documentary about his own life directed by Molly Reynolds and made after his cancer diagnosis.

Share this with others on...

The best of 2021, according to France's rising stars Unifrance’s 10 Talents To Watch in 2022 pick their favourites

Last exit for a stylish maverick Director of Diva and Betty Blue dies at 75

I see something in your eyes Iva Radivojević on Anne Waldman, Jorge Luis Borges, Alain Resnais, Mohammed Dib and Aleph

Experiencing difference in a positive way Dagmar Schultz on Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992

French actor dies in ski accident Gaspard Ulliel was face of Chanel and star of Saint Laurent

OFCS announces awards nominations Dune and The Power Of The Dog get nine nods each

More news and features

We're currently bringing you coverage of the French Film Festival UK.

We've recently covered Tallinn Black Nights, plus DOC NYC, the London Korean Film Festival, Aberystwyth's Abertoir, New York's Newfest and Sci-Fi London, the London Film Festival, Manchester's Grimmfest and the New York Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.