SYDNEY — Rodney William Ansell, the inspiration for the hit “Crocodile Dundee” movies, was killed in a shoot-out with police in which one officer died, Australian law enforcement officials confirmed Thursday.
Ansell became an instant Oz media celeb in 1977 when Aborigines rescued him from a remote part of the outback, where he’d survived for two months after an attack on his boat by a giant crocodile left him stranded.
Ansell’s subsequent TV interviews about his experience inspired actor Paul Hogan and co-writers Ken Shadie and John Cornell to create the Mick “Crocodile” Dundee character for the 1986 and 1988 films, which together grossed $278 million in the U.S.
Ansell also wrote a book about his experience, “To Fight the Wild,” and was named 1988’s citizen of the year by Australia’s Northern Territory government.
The 44-year-old Ansell, who is survived by two adult sons, had been in financial difficulty in recent years.
The shoot-out occurred about 30 miles south of the Northern Territory capital city of Darwin, at a police checkpoint which officials had established after an earlier shooting at a nearby house.