Hugh Keays-Byrne, the actor best known for playing Toecutter in George Miller’s original Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road (one of the best movie of the 2010s), has died. He was 73 years old. The news was broken by filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith (and later confirmed by the Hollywood Reporter), who wrote on Facebook, “I am sad to report that our friend Hugh Keays-Byrne passed away in hospital yesterday. A former Royal Shakespeare Company actor who settled in Australia co-starred in my Man From Hong Kong, and achieved world wide recognition as the Toecutter in Mad Max, and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.” He continued:
“Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager. He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity. We will miss his example and his friendship. Vale, Hugh.”
Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Keays-Byrne, tweeting, “It’s a sad day to have to say goodbye to The Toecutter and Immortan Joe. RIP Hugh Keays-Bryne, who played indelible baddies in the first and last Mad Max films – 36 years apart,” while Mohawk director Ted Geoghegan added, “I’m continually floored that he played Toecutter, the central antagonist of 1979’s MAD MAX *and* Immortan Joe, the central antagonist 2015’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Thanks for all the entertainment, sir.” He was also a mask-wearing legend. Keays-Byrne shall ride eternal. Shiny, and chrome.