Loss of a legend – Bill Hunter, rest in peace

Today’s news reports have been covering the passing of Bill Hunter. At 71, he released via a statement a short while ago that he had cancer; unfortunately some media coverage had been staking out the hospice he passed his final days in. Which is nothing short of reprehensible. People do not move into hospices for fun. Covering the passing of anyone famous for news coverage, while ignoring or just trampling over the feelings of the other families who are also travelling to and fro that same hospice to row their loved one out on their final journey, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

I was lucky enough to meet Bill Hunter in Chloe’s Bar last year. Meeting Hubs and Hanno in the CBD, we arranged to meet there as it was central. I was early, grabbed a couch, and while nursing a red wine and my book, one of my most favourite people walked in. Thrilled just to be in the same room as him, I squeaked excitedly, and ignored the boys I was meeting, happy to try not to stare at someone who’s career I’ve loved for years. When we were ready to go onto our restaurant for dinner, I took a deep breath and walked to his table. I apologised for interrupting him and said that I just wanted to thank him, because so much of his work features in my favourite films. He stood up, shook my hand, engulfing my right hand with both of his, asked my name and said ‘I’m Bill, thank you for your kind words.’

I didn’t walk out of Chloe’s, I floated. Every time I go to Fed Square, I look at the window it happened and smile. You don’t get a chance to bump into one of your heroes every so often. I took the opportunity with both hands, and this morning when Hubs told me that Mr. Hunter had passed, I was grateful all over again I made myself do it. From Strictly Ballroom, to Gallipoli, to Finding Nemo, to Muriel’s Wedding and of course, Priscilla. Those five films hardly touch a stella career.

And I simply cannot find the words to close this blog post.

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