Oscar-nominated NZer Jonathan Hardy dies
Tue, 31 Jul 2012 5:20p.m.
New Zealand-born actor, writer and director Jonathan Hardy, who was Oscar-nominated for co-writing Breaker Morant, has died at the age of 71.
He died at his home in the NSW Southern Highlands on Sunday, his friend and fellow Kiwi actor Lani Tupu told NZNewswire from Sydney.
Tupu had broken the news of Hardy's death with a message on Facebook.
"Sail well, wherever your spirit takes you. It was a great journey we travelled in space together," Tupu wrote, referring to their work together on the American science fiction TV show Farscape, produced by the Muppet creators at Jim Henson Productions.
Hardy and Tupu had met many years earlier when Hardy was director of Auckland's Mercury Theatre and through their Farscape roles they were invited to sci-fi conventions throughout the United States.
"Not many people realise he was nominated for an Oscar as one of the writers of Breaker Morant. At that time (1981) it was just exceptional," Tupu told NZ Newswire.
"He's done so much over a long career and I am just stunned (by his death)."
Hardy's film credits include The Devil's Playground, Mad Max and Moulin Rouge (as the Man in the Moon, with singing voice dubbed by Placido Domingo).
Hardy directed and wrote the movie Backstage starring the Grammy-winning Laura Branigan.
On TV he appeared in the Australian series Prisoner, the 1989 revival of Mission: Impossible, and the tele-movie The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years.
He also wrote for The Adventures of Skippy for two years.
In a 2007 interview with the New Zealand Herald, he recalled how he ended up in the New Zealand Players' Drama School after being expelled from school and within four years was appearing on the British stage with the likes of Sir John Gielgud and Sir Laurence Olivier.
He revived the Mercury Theatre during his 1980-85 tenure as artistic director but he had to resign through ill health and had a heart transplant in 1988.
"In my own pathetic way I suppose I feel I have been part of something quite special. New Zealand now expresses itself through its theatre and its films compared to when I started and all we did was work from somewhere else," he told the Herald.
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