The man behind Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar passes away

Contributed by
Apr 5, 2016

Erik Bauersfeld, the actor who provided the voice for the popular rebel commander Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens, has made the jump to lightspeed.

The 93-year-old actor's management, Coolwaters Productions, issued a statement on Monday that said, "Actor Erik Bauersfeld, known by Star Wars fans around globe as the voice of Admiral Ackbar, has passed away. His passing comes at the age of 93 and the cause was natural causes. Erik will be deeply missed by his family here at Coolwaters and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Bauersfeld spent decades as the director of drama and literature at KFPA, the legendary Berkeley, Calif., progressive talk and radio station. But he also did occasional voiceover work, and he happened to be working on a radio project at Lucasfilm one day when sound designer Ben Burtt asked him to read for the part of the froglike Ackbar.


The actor said in interviews that he was shown a picture of Ackbar and instantly came up with the voice. It took him just one hour to record all his lines -- including the classic "It's a trap!" -- and he stayed an additional half hour and read the role of Jabba the Hutt's right-hand man, Bib Fortuna, as well. Bauersfeld also auditioned for the part of Yoda, although the voice was eventually created by Frank Oz.

Regarding his most famous line as Ackbar, Bauersfeld told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2011, "The fans who write say they'll never forget 'It's a trap!' I don't even remember how I said it. It's not that I don't like it or don't respect it. I just don't have time to be a fan and see it 10 times or 20 times."

Bauersfeld encored as Ackbar in last year's The Force Awakens. Its unknown whether Ackbar will show up in Episode VIII, but if he does, sadly the man who first gave him his voice will not be on the journey with him.


(via USA Today)

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