Published: 26 January 2012
UQ congratulates alumnus Geoffrey Rush
University of Queensland alumnus, actor and film producer Dr Geoffrey Rush has been named the 2012 Australian of the Year.
Dr Rush, who has earned acting's coveted "Triple Crown" (Academy, Emmy & Tony Awards), was the 1998 UQ Alumnus of the Year and was awarded a UQ honorary doctorate of letters in 1997.
His honours also include four Screen Actors Guild awards, three British Academy Film Awards and two Gold Globes.
Dr Rush's acting credits range from Shakespearean plays to his Oscar-winning 1996 performance as pianist David Helfgott in Shine; the voice of a pelican in Finding Nemo; Captain Hector Barbarossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; to playing speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King's Speech.
The Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio at the University's St Lucia campus honours his contributions and is a training space for UQ drama students.
Dr Rush is the foundation president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts and is known for his support of young actors and arts companies.
Born in Toowoomba in 1951, Dr Rush moved to Brisbane in 1968 and performed with the College Players, a theatrical group formed by Bryan Nason at The University of Queensland.
While studying at the University between 1969 and 1971, Dr Rush was also active in the drama society he and Bille Brown, later also an internationally renowned actor, renamed "Unique".
Dr Rush graduated Bachelor of Arts from UQ in 1972.
In a letter to the University, Dr Rush said he "fondly recalled the heady days of 69-71, a key period in theatrical activity on campus."
Dr Rush follows in the footsteps of previous UQ-associated Australians of the Year, including Professor Ian Frazer (2006), Professor Peter Doherty AC (1997) and the late Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE (1961).
Professor Frazer, former Director of the UQ Diamantina Institute and foundation Director of the Translational Research Institute, is the co-inventor with the late Dr Jian Zhou of the world's first cervical cancer vaccine.
Professor Doherty, a UQ veterinary science graduate and 1993 UQ Alumnus of the Year, was awarded the 1996 Nobel Laureate for Medicine with Rolf Zinkernagel for their discovery on how the human immune system recognizes virus-infected cells.
Dame Joan, an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano, was awarded a UQ honorary doctorate in music in 1991. Then Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Wilson said she was a model of all that was best in the Australian character.
Media: Jan King 0413 601 248.
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