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David Gulpilil AM, of the Mandhalpuyngu clan in Arnhem Land, grew up on an Aboriginal reserve in the Northern Territory and went to a mission school in Maningrida in North East Arnhem Land. He went to work as a stockman like most boys of his generation; however, he showed exceptional talents as a dancer, having been instructed in ceremonial dance by his uncle. By his mid teens, he was an accomplished hunter, tracker, and ceremonial dancer.
In 1969, when he was only 14, he was chosen by English director Nicholas Roeg to play the lead in Walkabout, a film which soon became a classic. This was the beginning of a distinguished acting career, and he starred in films such as Storm Boy, The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit Proof Fenceand The Tracker. He also led a traditional dance troop for ten years and staged performances at venues around the country, including the Sydney Opera House, and travelled in Europe performing Aboriginal dances. He also released two traditional song albums and a book containing traditional stories.
He lived in Raningining and was an elder of the Yolgnu clan in Arnhem Land. He has won the prestigious Australia Day Eisteddfod in Darwin four times and an AFI Best Actor award in 2002. At the end of his life, he was living in Murray Bridge, South Australia.
He died in 2021, some years after a lung cancer diagnosis.
form yAnother CountryAustralia:Vertigo Productions,201588080852015single work film/TV biography
'According to the great Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, Another Country is what happened when his way of life was interrupted by ours. This documentary film speaks to the havoc caused by superimposing a new culture over an old culture and the consequent clashes about all manner of things, such as time, money, garbage and errant kangaroos.' (Source: Screen Australia website)