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Australian actor Harold Hopkins dies, aged 67

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Australian actor Harold Hopkins has died at the age of 67.

He passed away in a Sydney hospice during the early hours of Sunday morning (December 11) as a result of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.

Born in the Queensland city of Toowoomba on March 6, 1944, Hopkins enrolled at acting school in Sydney alongside his twin brother John in the 1960s.

He is best known to Australian audiences for his roles as womaniser Cooley in 1976 movie Don's Party and Les McCann in Peter Weir's First World War movie Gallipoli, released in 1981.

Hopkins had auditioned for a role in Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald movie The Great Gatsby earlier this year, AAP reports.

His brother-in-law Rowland Hill told the news agency that Hopkins saw the audition - for the role of protagonist Jay Gatsby's estranged father - as "a great opportunity to take part in the industry that he had spent a lifetime in".

Hopkins also made regular stage and television appearances, including a guest role as gun dealer George Joseph in crime drama Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities.

He had previously worked as an apprentice carpenter in the 1960s and was exposed to asbestos without protective clothing during this time - a factor which is thought to have caused his cancer.

Hopkins is survived by his twin brother and five siblings - Michael, Naomi, Gregory, Margaret and Suzanne.

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