Tony Barry, a veteran Australian film and television actor who starred in the hit comedy Kiwi Goodbye cake and had a recurring role in the TV series Time in our life, has died. He was 81.
Barry’s friend, New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston, wrote on Facebook that the actor had passed away in Murwillumbah, Australia after a long illness. “He is one of a kind. A fierce fighter for the underprivileged, works for Indigenous rights and is part of the recovery process. [programs] in the justice system and for the environment,” Preston wrote.
“Tony Barry is gone – my lovely man, great actor and hero. Sad day today,” Sam Neill, who co-starred with Barry in Michael Blakemore, tweeted. Rural life.
Born on 28 August 1941 in Queensland, Australia, Barry made his screen debut in 1968 in the television series Skippy: Dust kangaroowhich he has followed with appearances in many Australian television shows including Box and Matlock police.
He made his debut in the 1977 Kevin James Dobson historical drama Mango tree and in the following years earned more than 160 film and television credits. His most notable film roles include the TV series Ken Hannam Day off (1976), by Terry Bourke lost boy (1978), critically acclaimed work by Phillip Noyce newspaper face (1979), by John Laing Beyond reasonable doubt (1980) and by Dušan Makavejev Coca-Cola Boy (1985), by Park Chan-wook vengeance lady (2005) and the epic of Baz Luhrmann Australia (2008).
Barry’s most memorable role was in Geoff Murphy’s 1981 comedy Kiwi Goodbye cake. In the film, Barry plays John, a man who is dumped by his girlfriend and flies home to Invercargill, so he decides to drive south from Auckland to talk to her in his iconic yellow Mini 1000. its icon.
Goodbye cake became a milestone in New Zealand cinema, becoming the first domestically produced film to succeed on a large scale. The film’s success and cultural impact in New Zealand earned Barry the title of “Honorary Kiwi” and he became the only Australian to be featured on New Zealand postage stamps. The film was remade in 2016 with the name Pork cakewith Dean O’Gorman playing John.
Barry’s most recent notable television role was in the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Time in our life. He played Ray Tivolli in the series, but in 2013, midway through production, he suffered a health crisis, losing his left leg after a decades-long battle with melanoma. The real-life amputation was made into a story with Ray losing his leg in an accident, and Barry recovering and learning to walk.
“I was able to talk to the producers and screenwriters about what it meant to lose a leg for (basic things like) Ray taking a shower,” Barry told News.com.au.
He also starred in the Australian TV series harrow and Finish.