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At the time Dalaithngu featured in Walkabout, non-Indigenous actors were still portraying Indigenous characters. (Supplied: ABCG Film) © Provided by ABC NEWS At the time Dalaithngu featured in Walkabout, non-Indigenous actors were still portraying Indigenous characters. (Supplied: ABCG Film)

Renowned actor, dancer, singer and painter David Dalaithngu AM has died aged 68, after a five-year battle with lung cancer.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains images and videos of a person who has died.

The late actor's family has granted permission to use his image. For cultural reasons he is referred to as David Dalaithngu.

Dalaithngu was from the Mandhalpuyngu clan of the Yolŋgu people and was raised in Arnhem land.

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The award-winning actor has been remembered for his trailblazing 50-year career, starring in many iconic Australian films.

Dalaithngu's screen presence was so prolific that it is hard to summarise — but here, we look at some of his major roles.

Walkabout

Dalaithngu was chosen to star in Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film Walkabout, making him one of the first Aboriginal characters portrayed on the big screen in Australia.

And a warning, the following trailer contains confronting content.

Roeg cast the teenage Dalaithngu after discovering his dancing skills in 1969.

The film tells the story of a teenage girl, played by Jenny Agutter and her younger brother, who are left abandoned in the Australian outback.

The pair come across a young Indigenous man, played by Dalaithngu, who helps them find water and hunt for food as they try to make their way home to Sydney.

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His acting in the movie helped signal the end of non-Aboriginal people portraying Aboriginal characters.

Storm Boy

Dalaithngu was also celebrated for his role in 1976 film Storm Boy, in which he played Fingerbone Bill.

The film was made by Henri Safran and based on the book by South Australian author Colin Thiele.

The movie tells the story of a young boy, Mike, living in the Coorong with his father and his pet pelicans.

Dalaithngu plays an Aboriginal man estranged from his own people, who befriends the young boy, calling him Storm Boy and teaching him his traditional knowledge.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the film made Dalaithngu "a household name and secured a place in the heart of all South Australians".

Rabbit-Proof Fence

In 2002's Rabbit-Proof Fence, Dalaithngu plays tracker Moodoo, for which he was nominated as best actor in a supporting role by the Australian Film Institute.

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It portrays three young Aboriginal girls who escape from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, as they trek through the outback to return to their families.

Dalaithngu's character is hired to search for the escaped girls.

Charlie's Country

The idea for 2013 film Charlie's Country began when director Rolf de Heer visited Dalaithngu in jail in Darwin in 2011.

The pair had collaborated for previous films Ten Canoes and The Tracker.

Charlie's Country tells the story of an Aboriginal man as he deals with the challenges of living between the traditional world and the impositions of white Australia. The experiences of the main character, Charlie, echo some of the challenges Dalaithngu faced in his own life.

Dalaithngu was awarded Best Actor at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in the film.

Crocodile Dundee

In 1986 action comedy film Crocodile Dundee, Dalaithngu performed alongside Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski.

The movie tells the story of an American journalist who travels to Australia to interview crocodile poacher Mick Dundee, played by Hogan.

Dalaithngu played the role of Neville Bell, a citified tribal man who had returned to the Top End to perform ceremony with his family.

While Dalaithngu went on to describe the movie as "bullshit", the movie was one of Australia's biggest ever film exports to the American market.

After Crocodile Dundee, Dalaithngu received formal recognition of his services to the arts in the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours List, being awarded the Member of the Order of Australia.

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