Mesothelioma Claims Another Actor: Australia’s Harold Hopkins
December 13, 2011
Mesothelioma cancer took the life of another actor on Sunday.
Australian film actor Harold Hopkins died while in hospice care at Naringah Private Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
Hopkins, 67, was best known in America for only one of his film roles, from “Gallipoli,” a Peter Weir film from 1981. Hopkins played a soldier playing opposite Mel Gibson.
His other most famous role was on “Don’s Party,” though that film was more widely known in his native country. He won roles in hundreds of films and TV series, according to IMDB.com.
Hopkins is believed to have contracted mesothelioma through occupational exposure to asbestos in the 1960s. Before he was an actor, he worked as a carpenter in Queensland, and part of that job involved installing asbestos sheeting.
“He found out he got cancer from demolishing a house in 1968 that had fibro in it,” said actor John Harratt, a friend of Hopkins, told ABC News in Australia. “If you put money on who would get to [live to] 100, I would put it on Harold. It is the most sad, sad thing that has happened to such a beautiful man.”
Hopkins is the hardly the most famous actor to die of mesothelioma. American icon Steve McQueen died from the disease in 1980, and former actor and NFL Hall of Fame player Merlin Olsen succumbed to it earlier in 2011.
Hopkins recently auditioned for a role in an remake of “The Great Gatsby” being put together by Baz Lurhmann, according to brother-in-law Rowland Hill.
Hopkins is survived by his twin brother, John, and five other siblings.