RIP, Mark “Chopper” Read, buried in private ceremony in Melbourne

Senior Editor
10.18.13 10 Comments

I don’t how I missed this story, but I blame the lamestream media. Mark “Chopper” Read, a legendary Australian true crime author played by Eric Bana in the 2000 Andrew Dominik film Chopper, died last week of liver cancer at the age of 58, and was buried this week in a secret funeral in Melbourne.

The invitation-only funeral for Read, who died last week of liver cancer aged 58, was held at Fawkner, said Nigel Davies, of the funeral director Lonergan and Raven.

“Today we did a very small, private burial. Invitation only. There were only a few family members in attendance,” Davies said.

A public service will be held on Thursday at Clifton Hill.

“He has always said that he didn’t mind who got up and said what at his funeral,” Davies said.

Read spent more than 23 years in jail for crimes including armed robbery, assault and kidnapping, including trying to abduct at gunpoint a Victorian county court judge.

He once claimed he was involved in killing 19 people and the attempted murder of 11 others.

He was famously portrayed by Eric Bana in the 2000 film Chopper.

Read was also Australia’s best-selling true crime author, with copies of his first book, Chopper: From the Inside, selling more than 300,000 copies. [TheGuardian]

I lived in Australia in 2002 and watched Chopper after pretty much every Australian I met told me I had to. I always thought of him as the perfect example of what a celebrated member of a culture says about that culture. I read one of his rambling, prison-story books, and mostly remember his vivid description of yanking out another prisoner’s colostomy tube during a fight. I believe he likened it to “pulling a knotted towel through a chain-link fence” or some such.

I’d highly recommend watching Chopper. Watching Chopper as an American is such a surreal experience, trying to figure out what about this sort of beef-headed, affable psychopath makes him such an Australian icon. I guess it’s his affable psychopathy? “Wait… so this guy… who killed a bunch of people… and brags about it… is a national hero?” And Australians just sort of grin and shrug. I always thought of Chopper Read as a sort of human vegemite, where Australians indulge in it and brag about it, partly because they legitimately like it, but mainly just to f*ck with us.

Related: “Hahden the fack up, Austraalia.”

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