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Aussie documaker dies in vehicular crash

Douglas brought the outback to urban households

SYDNEY — Vet wildlife documaker Malcolm Douglas died Sept. 23 in a car accident on his large Western Australian property in Kimberley. He was 69.

Douglas started out as a crocodile hunter before switching to wildlife documentaries in the ’70s at a time when they were just o becoming popular. As such he blazed a trail for later incarnations of the “bushie” such as Steve Irwin. He was accompanied in the early days by the Leyland Bros. on the Nine Network and Harry Butler on pubcaster the ABC, a trio that helped city slickers Down Under get in touch with the unfamiliar Aussie bush.

Known as the “barefoot bushman,” his first docu “Across the Top” screened to boffo auds in 1976 resulting in a long-running association with the Seven Network where he became a regular on the weekend sked.

During the next four decades Douglas switched from hunter to conservationist, a thread that would run through his docus, the most recent “In the Bush With Malcolm Douglas” was a hit for Seven just last year.

In the early ’80s Douglas opened a crocodile park and a wildlife park in Western Australia, and it was while running these properties that he crashed his four-wheel drive.

Douglas is survived by his wife, Valerie, and two children.

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