Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo creator John McCallum dies

Googie Withers and John McCallum in 1948
John McCallum and Googie Withers were married in 1948

John McCallum, the Australian film and TV pioneer who helped create classic series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, has died in Sydney at the age of 91.

McCallum, who acted alongside his wife Googie Withers in a series of films in the 1940s and 1950s, had reportedly been suffering from leukaemia.

Born in Brisbane into a theatrical family, McCallum began his career in London before returning to Australia.

Skippy, which ran from 1965 to 1968, went on to be shown around the world.

The popular children's series followed the exploits of a brave kangaroo, her young owner and the rangers of the Waratah National Park in New South Wales.

McCallum had originally wanted to call the titular marsupial Hoppy, but was overruled by his co-producer Lee Robinson.

McCallum's other productions include 1982 war movie Attack Force Z, which gave an early leading role to the young Mel Gibson.

He is the father of Joanna McCallum, a familiar face on British TV thanks to appearances in Holby City, Poirot and Doctors.



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