11 Apr 2017

Sam Neill on his 'brilliant' friend John Clarke

From Checkpoint, 5:43 pm on 11 April 2017

Actor Sam Neill says the late John Clarke was a precociously gifted satirist and showman, and one of New Zealand's finest ever comedians.

Mr Clarke, who was best-known in New Zealand for creating the Fred Dagg character in the 1970s, died while trekking through the Victoria bush on Sunday.

The pair met while studying at Victoria University nearly 50 years ago, and the two have stayed friends since then.

Mr Neill said Mr Clarke's achievements and longevity meant his legacy was in no doubt.

"You know he was on every week on Australian television for 30-plus years. He just had to walk on stage and people would laugh. He didn't even have to do anything, there was just something innately funny about him. But on top of that, he was very good at explaining what was going on. He was a very gifted man."