Real Crocodile Dundee kept a croc head, walked barefoot and died in shootout

Paul Hogan stars in Crocodile Dundee

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The 1986 film Crocodile Dundee starred Paul Hogan as the titular character journeying to New York City for the first time after living in the Australian Outback for his entire life. The larger-than-life character was actually based on a real-life Australian named Rod Ansell. 

Ansell led an incredible life and made his way through Australia as a buffalo hunter and cattle grazier.

But he hit headlines in 1977 when he survived a staggering seven weeks in the wilderness.

Ansell took with him just a small collection of supplies, including a knife, a sleeping bag, and his two dogs.

During his ordeal, the hunter slept in a tree to stay safe from crocodiles. He ate honey from a nearby beehive and sometimes resorted to drinking cattle blood as a substitute for water.

At one point Ansell killed a 16ft crocodile and kept its head as a souvenir. Eventually, he found civilisation and put himself back in reality. Once the media caught wind of his story his entire life got turned upside down. He made some appearances on Australian TV where he appeared barefoot to discuss his antics. Ansell was also put up in a five-star hotel for his TV interview, where he struggled to deal with his amenities.

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Ansell reportedly opted to sleep in his sleeping bag instead of the hotel’s luxury bed.

He also wasn’t sure what to do with the bidet in the room.

Shortly thereafter a script was written for Crocodile Dundee which was released a decade later in 1986.

Things did not end well for Ansell, however. Another ten years later, on August 3, 1999, the bush warrior became involved in a shootout with veteran Sergeant Glen Anthony Huitson.

Ansell was reportedly using amphetamines at the time, and had become “convinced the Freemasons had kidnapped his two sons and were now stalking him”.

After shooting two people, Ansell was shot dead by police who retaliated.

The hunter was, at the request of his two sons, given a full Aboriginal burial at Mount Catt.

His funeral was attended by his sons and his parents.

The film series based on his life, Crocodile Dundee, sparked two sequels.

The first, Crocodile Dundee II, was released in 1988, and the second, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, was released in 2001.

By the time the third film was released the franchise had earned more than $600 million at the box office.


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