George Ogilvie, Co-Director of ‘Mad Max Thunderdome,’ Dies at 89

Klaritza Rico

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George Ogilvie, who co-directed on the third Mad Max film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” along with George Miller, and led Russell Crowe in his film screen debut in “The Crossing,” has died in Australia. He was 89.

For the 1985 “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Ogilvie focused on working with the cast on dialogue and dramatization while co-director Miller focused on the action sequences. He had previously worked with “Mad Max” star Mel Gibson in the Nimrod Theatre Company’s “Death of a Salesman.”

Ogilvie guided a then 26-year-old Russell Crowe through his first feature film in the 1990 Australian coming-of-age drama, “The Crossing.” 

“Oh I just love him,” said Ogilvie of Crowe in a 2016 interview with The Sunday Morning Herald. “He was a force. He worked hard, but he did expect everyone around him to work hard as well.”

Ogilvie was born in 1931 as a twin to Scottish parents in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. He began his career as an actor and when he was 20, he left home to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He later returned to his home country in 1954, where he began to explore directing, but later returned to Europe, studying with French mime Jacques Lecoq in Paris. 

After encouragement from fellow director John Sumner, Ogilvie again returned to Australia to become the artistic director at the Melbourne Theatre Company. He worked at the theater for six years and directed 23 plays, winning the Melbourne Theatre Critic’s award for best director on three occasions. 

Ogilvie also worked in television for 20 years, where he assisted in the growing popularity of the 1983 political saga “The Dismissal.”

Ogilvie was honored by the Australian Film Institute in 1988, receiving the prestigious Byron Kennedy Award. He published his memoirs, entitled “Simple Gifts: A Life in the Theatre” in 2006.

Crowe took to Twitter to remember the director and “gifted teacher.”

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