Jack Charles death and obituary
The beloved star of stage and screen, Jack Charles also known as Uncle Jack Charles has passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones. He passed away today 13th of September, 2022 at the age of 79.
Jack Charles cause of death
In a statement, his family stated that the 79-year-old legend had suffered a stroke, before passing away at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Tuesday morning.
“We are so proud of everything he has achieved in his remarkable life – Elder, actor, musician, potter, activist, mentor, a household name and voice loved by all – as is demonstrated by his numerous awards including this year’s NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year.”
“He will live on in our hearts and memories and through his numerous screen and stage roles. May he be greeted by his Ancestors on his return home.”
Jack Charles’ life
Jack Charles, a member of the Stolen Generations, was born on 5 September 1943 at the Cummeragunja Mission Station, NSW, Australia, to a Bunuronong mother and a Wiradjuri father. His great-great-grandfather, a Djadjawurrung man, was one of the activists who resisted government policy at the Corranderrk reserve in Victoria in 1881. He was a victim of the Australian Government’s forced child removal program, and was taken from his mother as a four-month-old baby. He was raised in the Salvation Army Boys’ Home at Box Hill in suburban Melbourne, where he was the only Aboriginal child and was sexually abused.
Jack is an actor, a musician, a potter, and an Aboriginal elder. His screen credits include the landmark Australian film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), Bedevil (1993), Blackfellas (1993), Tom White (2004) and Pan (2015), among others.
For a large part of his early life, he was a drug addict and petty thief. He started his acting career in 1970, and in 1971 co-founded Nindethana (‘place for a corroboree’) at The Pram Factory in Melbourne, Australia. Nindethana was Australia’s first Indigenous theatre group. Their first hit play, in 1972, was called Jack Charles is Up and Fighting, and included music composed by him.
Jack was the subject of Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s remarkable 2008 documentary Bastardy, which followed his life for seven years. The film’s tagline described him as: “Addict. Homosexual. Cat burglar. Actor. Aboriginal.” The film was an official selection for the Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney and Sheffield Doc/Fest film festivals.
In 2010, Ilbijerri Theatre staged Charles’ one-man show called Jack Charles v The Crown at the Melbourne Festival. Charles was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play for his performance. Jack Charles v The Crown has since toured across Australia and internationally. In 2012, he performed in the Sydney Festival production I am Eora. He played Chief Great Little Panther in Joe Wright’s 2015 film Pan.
In April 2014, Jack received a Lifetime Achievement award from Victoria’s Green Room Awards; he was the first Indigenous recipient. In 2016, he played the role of Uncle Paddy in two episodes of the ABC television horror drama series Wolf Creek. Also in 2016, he played the role of Uncle Jimmy in the ABC television drama series Cleverman.
In 2019, he was awarded the Red Ochre Award from the Australian Council for the Arts. This award is presented to an outstanding Indigenous Australian (Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander) artist for lifetime achievement.
Jack’s memoir Jack Charles: Born-Again Blakfella, was written with Namila Benson. It has a Foreword by Dr Gary Foley and a Preface by Amiel Courtin-Wilson. The book was first published in hardback by Viking in 2019, and republished in paperback by Penguin Books in 2020. It was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards 2020 Biography Book of the Year.
Jack Charles funeral arrangement
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced, it goes without saying that the family is dealing with devastating loss and could use your support. On behalf of the family, we are asking for your prayers, love and support during this difficult and painful time for them.
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