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SYFY WIRE obituary

Star Wars actor Alan Harris, who played bounty hunter Bossk, passes away at 81

By Josh Grossberg
Alan Harris Bountyhunter

Alan Harris, who memorably played the bounty hunter Bossk in The Empire Strikes Back and appeared in all three original Star Wars films, has passed away. He was 81.

His appearance manager, Zachery McGinnis of Galactic Productions, told SYFY WIRE that the retired actor had been battling undisclosed health problems but "loved and lived every moment to the fullest."

Harris' colleague, Cathy Munroe, issued a statement remembering him as "an incredible courageous man" whose "legacy will live on and he will always be fondly remembered."

Harris is best known to the Star Wars set for his role as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, the dog-like alien Bossk, whom Darth Vader recruited along with Boba Fett, Hammerhead, and a host of other gangsters to hunt down the Millennium Falcon in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back.


Scum and villainy indeed. But while Bossk was his claim to fame, it wasn't Harris' only Empire role.

According to his IMDb page, Harris also played a Bespin guard. There was also the uncredited part as Princess Leia's Rebel escort in 1977's A New Hope, a stormtrooper in 1983's Return of the Jedi, and serving as C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels' double and stand-in in that film, as well as Terence Stamp's stand-in in 1999's The Phantom Menace.

Alan Harris

While known mostly as an extra, Harris certainly made the most of it, racking up credits in some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters and other memorable flicks. Among his credits are a pair of Stanley Kubrick films — A Clockwork Orange and The Shining — as well as Flash Gordon, Superman, Superman II, The Dark Crystal, The Living Daylights, Hellraiser, and Nightbreed.

Harris was born on May 28, 1931, in Enfield, Middlesex, London, and reportedly began his career as a male model before seguing into acting in film and television.

After his retirement, he hit the convention circuit, where he was a popular draw, telling stories about his time with the Empire, for which he was fondly remembered by fans and friends alike on social media, including Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bullock.

"Alan lost his wife Winn many years ago. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet her. However as often as he spoke about her I felt like I did. Every time he mentioned Winn his eyes just lit up, his smile became so incredibly enduring. It wasn’t just when he talked about her either, it was when someone walked by wearing a similar perfume as Winn, or when he tasted something similar to what she used to bake. I don’t think you can really ask for more," said McGinnis. "Alan had an incredible career, 80+ years of a life well lived and most importantly he had true love and now Winn is back in his arms and that puts a smile on my face."