Hollywood star Sam Neill said making a movie with late satirist John Clarke was his favourite experience on a film set.

The veteran actor, who has starred alongside the likes of Meryl Streep and Sean Connery, fondly remembered working with Clarke on the 1990 Australian black comedy, Death in Brunswick, the Daily Mail reports.

Neill played a chef while Clarke had the part of a Melbourne gravedigger.

This was where the two New Zealand-born actors developed a lifelong friendship.


"Probably the happiest experience I've ever had on a film," Neill told the ABC's tribute program John Clarke: Thanks For Your Time.

"He played my mate in it, I played a no-hoper, he was a sort of solid guy.

"Our friendship bled into that partnership on the screen.

"I loved working with him on that. It was such a pleasurable experience."

Clarke was also admired by the many politicians he had sent up in a weekly television segment since 1988.

Former prime minister Paul Keating had the greatest of respect for Clarke's parodies of him as he bitterly challenged Bob Hawke for the Labor leadership more than 25 years ago.

"He played Bob Hawke and he played me. He had it pretty right," he said.

Keating, who led Australia from 1991 to 1996, said the satirist, who died last week aged 68, was very unique.

"John Clarke had enormous intellectual energy and an acute power of observation," the former prime minister said.

"I don't think we'll see the likes of Clarke again to do what he did over such a long period of time."

Clarke and his interviewer Bryan Dawe entertained Australian television audiences with their parodies of politicians, first on the Nine Network's A Current Affair hosted by Jana Wendt, and later on the ABC.

Dawe likened his friend's death to losing his father 54 years ago, and said he had never worked with a performer who had Clarke's sense of rhythm.

"We just somehow naturally understood each other's rhythm," he said.

"It was like jazz and it was free form, even though we had a script.

"The rhythm was there all the time and there's no other performer who I've ever worked with that had that, ever."

The ABC tribute also featured interviews with Australian comedians who had worked alongside Clarke, including Max Gillies and Gina Riley.