Played by Paul Hogan, Crocodile Dundee was an Aussie outback hero who took the 1980s box office by storm with a mix of strength, fearlessness and unashamed political incorrectness. But the man who actually inspired the series of adventure comedies made his big screen counterpart look tame in comparison. Here’s a look at the astonishing true story of the real-life Crocodile Dundee.
The man nicknamed Crocodile Dundee was, of course, born with a slightly more conventional name, Rod Ansell, in 1954. After growing up in the Queensland town of Murgon with his parents and three siblings, the future croc wrangler left for the Northern Territory in his mid-teens. There he began his adventurer career hunting for wild water buffalo.
Ansell became a household name in 1977 after a disastrous trip to the Victoria River, which nearly cost him his life. His ordeal began when the motorboat he was traveling in suddenly capsized. In the first of many incredulous claims about the incident, Ansell told the press that none other than a whale was responsible.