I was very saddened to hear this week of the passing of Rick Carter, the great Australian actor and comedian, with whom I worked on Gettin’ Square, a film I wrote and co-produced in 2003. A veteran of scores of classic Aussie films, including Muriel’s Wedding, Babe, Rabbit Proof Fence, The Great Gatsby and Mad Max: Fury Road, and a long list of successful television series, Rick was an icon of the Australian entertainment industry over four decades of work.
Richard Carter and Timothy Spall Gettin’ Square
I first had the pleasure of making his acquaintance when he was cast as the lumbering bodyguard and minder Craig “Crusher” Knobes in Gettin’ Square. He had originally auditioned for another part, which ultimately went to the marquee British actor Timothy Spall, but his screen test was so strong everyone on the production team immediately agreed we had to find a part for him. His perfect comedic timing and wonderfully nuanced performance – epitomised by a memorable scene in which Tim Spall’s character (a small-time crook) explains the nuances of the right to silence to his outraged minder, Crusher – were an integral part of the enormous success of that film.
Richard Carter began his show business career in Sydney’s stand-up comedy scene, where he honed his skills adopting various oddball personae, before establishing an outstanding reputation on both large and small screen, playing a broad range of weird and wonderful characters. His most recent scene-stealing performance was as the deranged Bullet Farmer in George Miller’s 2015 blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road.
The Australian entertainment industry was in mourning this week. Comedian, television presenter, writer and producer Julia Morris remembered Carter as a “true gentleman,” writing this week of her early days on the comedy circuit, “When female stand-ups were not really celebrated, Richard was the very essence of support.” Film critic Luke Buckmaster described him as a “tough guy on screen, and a beautiful, tender man in real life,” and fellow comedian, radio and television presenter Adam Hills tweeted “So very sad to hear of the passing of a giant of Australian comedy and acting. At times he was like Yoda to me, at others more like Chewbacca, but I loved him nonetheless. Wish I had told him that recently.” Many do.
Richard Carter will be greatly missed and long remembered.