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Australian Actor Harold Hopkins (GALLIPOLI, THE CLUB) Dies of Asbestos-Related Cancer

Harold Hopkins, GallipoliHarold Hopkins, who appeared in several important Australian movies including Gallipoli (right), The Year My Voice Broke, Don’s Party, and The Club, died yesterday, Dec. 10, at Neringah Private Hospital in Wahroonga, north Sydney. According to reports, his death was caused by the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.

Hopkins, who was 67, is supposed to have been exposed to the cancer right after finishing high school, while working as an apprentice carpenter sheeting asbestos in Queensland in the early 1960s.

Following on the footsteps of his twin brother John, Harold Hopkins (born on March 6, 1944, in Toowoomba, Queensland) graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1967. He then performed onstage and began his feature-film career in 1969, landing a supporting part in Michael Powell’s Age of Consent, starring James Mason and Helen Mirren.

Film roles were sporadic throughout the 1970s — among those was an appearance in Bruce Beresford’s comedy-drama Don’s Party — though Hopkins could frequently be seen on television. TV series in which he was featured at that time include Barrier Reef, Division 4, Matlock Police, and Homicide.

In 1980, Hopkins played an important role in Beresford’s The Club, a dramatic comedy about intrigue in the football field, locker rooms, and boardrooms. For his efforts, he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Australian Film Institute.

The following year, Hopkins supported Mel Gibson and Mark Lee in the anti-war buddy/(quasi-)gay romance drama Gallipoli, and kept himself busy in films for the next two decades in fare such as Ken Cameron’s Monkey Grip, John Meagher’s Fantasy Man, John Duigan’s The Year My Voice Broke, and Peter Duncan’s Children of the Revolution.

Hopkins’ last movie was James Rabbitts’ horror-thriller The Clinic, made last year. He reportedly auditioned for a role in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming The Great Gatsby, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton.

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