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Clarke remembered for wit, kindness

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/04/2017 Jamie McKinnell

Master satirist John Clarke is being remember for his generosity and sharp wit by collaborators, family members and those who found themselves in his crosshairs.

Palmerston North-born Clarke died at the weekend after collapsing while hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria at the age of 68.

He was best known in New Zealand for his 1970s character Fred Dagg but after shifting to Australia gained more fame for lampooning politicians and bureaucratic life there with long-term collaborator Bryan Dawe in deadpan mock interviews.

"John is such a big canvas it is impossible to explain how I feel," Dawe told Fairfax Media.

"I got to experience this man's humanity, his generosity, his brilliance and above all, his kindness."

Even his victims have paid tribute to his talent, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"His laconic wit was rarely wide of the mark. I should know," Mr Turnbull said in a statement on Monday.

Clarke's family said he died doing one of the things he loved most - taking photos of birds in beautiful bushland with his wife and friends.

"He is forever in our hearts," they said in a statement.

Clarke authored 25 books, was the voice of Wal Footrot in the movie Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale and appeared in a number of movies and television shows in both New Zealand and Australia.

He worked on the 1980s sketch comedy TV series The Gillies Report, was a regular on ABC radio, the ABC's 7.30 program, the Nine Network's A Current Affair and also co-wrote the drama mini-series ANZACs.

He was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 2008.

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