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David Gulpilil

b. 1953

David Gulpilil AM (b. 1953), actor and dancer, was born near Maningrida in Arnhem Land, a man of the Mandalbingu people. His electrifying appearance in Nicolas Roeg's film Walkabout (1971) secured him the position of the best-known Aboriginal actor of the 1970s. His subsequent film appearances include Storm Boy (1976), The Last Wave (1977), Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Rabbit Proof Fence (2002). In 2002, he garnered Best Actor awards from the Australian Film Institute Awards, the Inside Film Awards and the Film Critics' Circle Awards for his role in The Tracker. Some years ago, Gulpilil returned to his ancestral lands to subsist through hunting crocodiles and fishing. He has explored the contradictions and difficulties of living between Yolngu and balanda (European) cultures in a smash one-man stage show, Gulpilil (2004), conceived by Stephen Page and Neil Armfield, for which he received standing ovations at every performance. A huge portrait of Gulpilil by Craig Ruddy, David Gulpilil: two worlds controversially won the Archibald Prize of 2004. In 2006 Gulpilil featured alongside his son, Jamie, in the Yolngu-dialogue arthouse hit Ten Canoes, which he conceived with director Rolf de Heer.

Updated 2018