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Thursday, August 5, 1999 Published at 04:50 GMT 05:50 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

'Crocodile Dundee' dies in gun battle

Rodney Ansell: The original Crocodile Dundee

The Australian bushman who was the inspiration for the 1980's Hollywood film, Crocodile Dundee, has been killed in a shoot-out with police.

Lisa Upton reports: "Police haven't ruled out the possibility that drugs were involved"
Police said Rodney Ansell shot dead a police sergeant but a second officer had returned fire killing the former buffalo hunter.

Police had been looking for Mr Ansell, 44, following an attack on a family near Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, which left two people injured.

The gunfight brought a dramatic end to the life of a man whose survival instincts and rough wilderness manner had made him a symbol of Australian toughness.

He became a hero in 1977 after being stranded on an island for two months when a crocodile overturned his small boat. He survived by shooting sharks and buffalo.

His exploits were celebrated in his book and a documentary film, both called To Fight the Wild.

Mr Ansell wrote in the book that the loneliness of his ordeal had not bothered him - but he did miss the company of women.

The story sparked actor and writer Paul Hogan's imagination and inspired him, Ken Shadie and John Cornell to write a film about an Outback superstar - Crocodile Dundee.

With Hogan in the title role, the film portrayed the hunter as a backwoodsman out of place in the big city.

The film was an international comedy hit in 1986, and earned its three writers an academy award nomination for best original screenplay.

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