Paul Johnstone and Vince Gil (Image: Paul Johnstone/Facebook)
Actor and writer Vince Gil, known for playing Nightrider in Mad Max, and appearing in television series Homicide, Cop Shop, and Prisoner, has died aged 83.
Mad Max co-star Paul Johnstone confirmed the news in a Facebook post on Sunday evening, noting his friend had been “frail for some time” and “mercifully no longer needs to be constrained by his mortal form”.
Born in Sydney in 1939, Gil had his first role in Henri Safran’s 1965 television movie The Swagman.
It was to be the beginning of a five-decade career, with the actor gaining further attention via popular television series Number 96 and Homicide before playing a member Toecutter’s merciless motorcycle gang in George Miller’s 1979 dystopian action drama.
He remained a consistent presence on Australian screens throughout the ’80s and ’90s, acting in a diverse range of titles, including Carson’s Law, Prisoner, A Country Practice, and Neighbours.
Gil returned to film in the early 2000s with appearances in Shannon Young’s Razor Eaters and Antony Redman’s The Long Lunch. His last acting role was in 2015 as Clarence ‘Clarrie’ Porter in The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
He also amassed a diverse range of writing credits in his career, penning episodes of Cop Shop, The Flying Doctors, Home and Away, Snowy, and Heartbreak High.
In paying tribute to Gil, Johnstone detailed a trip the two took to Japan in 2015 for a Mad Mx convention, an experience he described as his “fondest memory” of the star.
“He was already in less-than-ideal health, and in the opening days a couple of us were concerned about his ability to get through the long demanding days of convention and socialising and travel and convention and… We need not have been concerned,” he wrote.
“Vince was remarkable – he rose to the occasion every time, fed off the energy of the wonderful Japanese fans, and on the occasions when I’d glance at him and be worried about his ability to keep going, he’d shrug off any concerns and showed that he had a lot more stamina than many of we much younger men.”