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SYFY WIRE obituary

Jeremy Bulloch, actor who physically played Boba Fett in original Star Wars trilogy, dies at 75

By Josh Weiss
Jeremy Bulloch

Jeremy Bulloch, the English actor who physically played galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, has passed away at the age of 75.

"We are very sad to announce the death of actor Jeremy Bulloch, earlier today," his agents said in a statement to Variety. "He died peacefully, in hospital, surrounded by his family, from health complications following his many years living with Parkinson’s disease ... He had a long and happy career spanning more than 45 years. He was devoted to his wife, three sons, and ten grandchildren and they will miss him terribly.”

"It is incredible that it's just gone on and on and on," Bulloch remarked during a 2018 interview about Fett's enduring legacy. "It's something that's gone on for a lot of my life. I've been acting since I was 12 and still, it comes back to old Boba ... It's incredible thing that Star Wars hasn't stopped ... There's something about it that the crowd wants to know. [People ask,] 'Hey, are you playing Boba Fett again?' I said, 'No, not this morning, I'm just going for a cup of tea' ... It's something that will always be with me."

Similar to what David Prowse did with Darth Vader, Bulloch only provided the character's movements before dialogue was later dubbed over by another person. The late Jason Wingreen originally provided the voice for Fett, until George Lucas decided to re-dub all of his lines with Temuera Morrison (actor/voice for all the Clone Troopers) following the release of the prequel trilogy. Daniel Logan, who portrayed a young Boba in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, remembered the actor on Instagram.

"It brings me to tears to announce Jeremy Bulloch has passed away," Logan wrote. "RIP, legend — I'll never forget all you've taught me. I'll love you forever. Conventions won't be the same without you; may the Force be with you, always."

"Jeremy Bulloch was the quintessential English gentleman," tweeted Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill. "A fine actor, delightful company and so kind to everyone lucky enough to meet or work with him. I will deeply miss him and am so grateful to have known him. #RIP."

Lando Calrissian actor Billy Dee Williams wrote that the world has "lost the best bounty hunter in the galaxy."

Born in Leicestershire, England in February 1945, Bulloch began acting from a young age. By the time he was cast in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), he already had more than two decades of professional experience under his belt, including seven episodes of Doctor Who.

"When I walked onto the set for the very first time in the costume, George Lucas looked at the costume and said, 'Welcome aboard. It's not a big role, but I'm sure you'll have fun,'" he recalled at Star Wars Celebration in 2015. For the scene in which Darth Vader hires a group of bounty hunters to track down the Millennium Falcon, Bulloch thought of his character as Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name from Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns. "I remember looking over the small amount of script I had, that Boba Fett [was] the best of the lot or the most dangerous. So, the more subtle stuff you do is quite fun."

"Jeremy brought the perfect combination of mystery and menace to his performance of Boba Fett, which is just what I wanted the character to convey,” Lucas said in a statement to “In addition, Jeremy was a true gentleman who was very supportive of Star Wars and its fans, and I’m very grateful for his contributions to the saga and its legacy.”

During the 2018 interview, Bulloch admitted that while the costume is "fantastic," it was "unbearable" to wear on the set. According to him, it was too hot and the knee pads tore up his skin. When asked if Fett survived the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi, he said: "I think he would, yes. I think he has to ... You never know. It would be nice to be invited along to [serve as] wardrobe supervisor [for the next actor]."

Twenty-two years after starring in Episode VI, Bulloch returned to the Star Wars universe to make a cameo in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

"He will be remembered not only for his iconic portrayal of the legendary character, but also for his warmth and generous spirit which have become an enduring part of his rich legacy," wrote the official Star Wars Twitter account.

"Jeremy is gone, too — the actor who made his role an instant, mysterious star," tweeted C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels. "I so recall his professionalism around the set and at conventions he was always faced with lines of fans waiting to meet their fave bad man in person. The contrast between him and Boba was remarkable. RIP."

Boba Fett was recently re-introduced back into the Star Wars canon by way of The Mandalorian's second season. He is currently played by Morrison.

Bulloch is survived by his wife, three sons, and 10 grandchildren.

(Certain biographical info via IMDB)