‘Gallipoli’ and AFI-nominated ‘The Club’ actor Harold Hopkins has died
Actor Harold Hopkins, featured in Gallipoli, The Club, and several other major Australian movies of the 1970s and 1980s, died on Dec. 10 at Neringah Private Hospital in Wahroonga, North Sydney. According to reports, his death was caused by the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
Hopkins (born on March 6, 1944, in Toowoomba, Queensland) was 67. He is supposed to have been exposed to the cancer-causing substance right after finishing high school, while working as an apprentice carpenter sheeting asbestos in Queensland in the early 1960s.
Early acting career
Following in the footsteps of his twin brother John, Harold Hopkins graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1967. He then performed onstage and began his feature film career after being cast in a supporting role in Michael Powell’s Age of Consent (1969), starring James Mason and Helen Mirren.
Film parts, however, were hard to come by in the 1970s. The most significant one had Hopkins as one of the guests – a sexually charged attorney – at a suburban Sydney bash in Bruce Beresford’s classic social critique Don’s Party (1976), adapted by David Williamson from his own 1971 play.
During that period, Hopkins kept himself busy on television. TV series in which he was featured include Barrier Reef, Division 4, Matlock Police, and Homicide.
Don’s Party trailer, featuring personal conflicts, political discussions, and plenty of nudity. Don’s Party won six Australian Film Institute Awards: Best Director (Bruce Beresford), Best Actress (Pat Bishop – who beat fellow partygoer Jeanie Drynan), Best Supporting Actress (Veronica Lang), Best Screenplay (David Williamson), Best Film Editing (William M. Anderson), and Best Sound (also William M. Anderson). In addition, Don’s Party was a Best Film nominee. In the trailer, Harold Hopkins is the naked attorney caught in the act.
Harold Hopkins movies: ‘The Club’ & ‘Gallipoli’
In 1980, Harold Hopkins landed a key role in another Bruce Beresford effort based on a (1977) David Williamson play: The Club, a satirical comedy revolving around various sorts of intrigue in football fields, locker rooms, and boardrooms.
Reprising his stage performance as Collingwood FC captain Danny Rowe, Hopkins received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Australian Film Institute.
He lost the AFI Award to Bill Hunter for Peter Weir’s World War I-set, quasi-romantic drama Gallipoli (1981), written by David Williamson and featuring Hopkins as an obnoxious farmhand who loses a race against one of the film’s two intimate buddies, Mark Lee. (The other one was Mel Gibson.)
More than 20 movie roles would follow in the ensuing quarter of a century, notably in Ken Cameron’s Monkey Grip (1982), John Meagher’s Fantasy Man (1984), John Duigan’s The Year My Voice Broke (1987), and Peter Duncan’s Children of the Revolution (1996).
As was the case at the beginning of his career, in the last three decades Harold Hopkins was kept much busier on TV, with nearly 40 appearances in a variety of series/miniseries (The Last Bastion, Heartland, Outriders) and a handful of TV movies (Big Ideas, Never Tell Me Never).
In 2001, he was seen in Wenona Byrne’s AFI-nominated, made-for-TV short Saturn’s Return, playing a dying man considering the possibility of assisted suicide, as his gay son (Joel Edgerton) comes to visit him one last time.
Hopkins’ last movie was James Rabbitts’ horror-thriller The Clinic, made last year. He had reportedly auditioned for a role in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming The Great Gatsby, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Saturn’s Return actor Joel Edgerton.
Film & sound editor William M. Anderson
 Though listed as two different people on the IMDb, Don’s Party film editor and sound editor William M. Anderson (billed as William Anderson) is one and the same person.
The Irish-born Anderson has been nominated for five Australian Film Institute Awards in the Best Film Editing category, winning four times: Don’s Party, Gallipoli, Bruce Beresford’s period drama ‘Breaker’ Morant (1980), and Russell Mulcahy’s horror thriller Razorback (1984). For the record, his non-winning effort was the Peter Weir-directed 1982 political drama The Year of Living Dangerously.
In the Best Sound category, Anderson has been shortlisted four times, winning for Don’s Party and ‘Breaker’ Morant (shared with Gary Wilkins, Jeanine Chiavlo, and Phil Judd).
Elsewhere, Anderson was in the running for a Best Film Editing BAFTA for his collaboration with Peter Weir on the sentimental drama Dead Poets Society (1989).
Harold Hopkins The Club image: New South Wales Film Corp., via Adelaide Screenwriter.
Information about The Club chiefly via Ben Goldsmith‘s “The Club. Football Politic: A Dirty Story.”
Don’s Party trailer: Double Head Productions / Umbrella Entertainment.
“Harold Hopkins: Gallipoli & AFI-Nominated The Club Actor + Don’s Party Sex-Focused Guest Has Died” last updated July 2018.