Star Wars has been around for decades, so it’s a sad but inevitable reality that many of the actors who have appeared in that galaxy far, far away are no longer with us. Here are a few faces from the franchise you may not have realized passed away.
Admiral Ackbar had a pretty small role in the original Star Wars trilogy, in fact, he only appeared briefly in Return of the Jedi. Even still, the character’s appearance made him a firm fan favorite, as did the iconic line that has now passed into pop culture legend. Naturally, then, fans of Star Wars mourned the unfortunate passing of Ackbar’s voice actor, Erik Bauersfeld, who died in 2016 at the age of 93. Interestingly, Bauersfeld once argued that he thought of his movie roles as a secondary career that he had accidentally stumbled into, as opposed to his more solid work as a radio producer. He once wrote: “The voice work I did in movies was accidental. I was working with Randy Thom on radio dramas at his technical quarters at Lucasfilm. One day Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars, came by and asked if I would audition for a voice in the movie.” Bauersfeld also voiced Bib Fortuna, one of Jabba the Hutt’s associates, and he returned to the role of Admiral Ackbar in The Force Awakens, which released just months before he passed away. As he dies in the opening hour of the film, Uncle Owen can be considered a pretty minor Star Wars character in the grand scheme of things, but his death is the primary call to arms that sets Luke Skywalker off on his hero’s journey. So in a weird way, Owen is actually one of the movie’s most important characters, making actor Phil Brown one of the story’s pivotal players. Sadly, Brown passed away in 2006 at the age of 89. Even though he was well-known when Star Wars was made, he’d faced plenty of hardships as an actor. In the 1950s, Brown was caught up in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist trials, and was actually blacklisted because he refused to comply with the House Un-American Activities Committee’s demands to name communists in Hollywood. He denied being a communist himself, but was still forced to move to London to continue acting. Keep watching the video to see more of the Star Wars actors you didn’t know passed away.