Jeremy Bulloch, the ‘Star Wars’ saga’s original Boba Fett, dead at 75

(LONDON) — Just weeks after mourning the loss of friend David Prowse, the man who gave Darth Vader his imposing physical presence in the original Star Wars Trilogy, Jeremy Bulloch, the man who played Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, has died. 

He was 75. 

According to a post on his official website, “Jeremy died peacefully on 17th December 2020 following health complications, including several years living with Parkinson’s disease.”

“He spent his final weeks in the wonderful care of staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, close to the house where he and his wife Maureen had lived together for more than fifty years,” the memoriam continued, adding, “Maureen and two of his sons, Jamie and Robbie, were with him during his final days.”

Bulloch didn’t provide the voice of the mysterious Mandalorian bounty hunter who was first glimpsed in animated form in the widely-panned Star Wars Holiday Special, but he filled the fan favorite character’s battle-scarred armor in the second and third Star Wars films, likening the character’s cool to Eastwood’s iconic “Man With No Name” under the helmet. 

“There’s such a fascinating thing about the character that people will want to talk to you for, I don’t know, half an hour, ” Bulloch told ABC Audio, “[saying] ‘Mr. Bulloch, I love that part. I just think it’s so fantastic. Thank you so much for bringing that to us.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

For all his popularity, Fett only had four lines of dialog in the original films; Archie Bunker’s Place actor Jason Wingreen provided the voice for the character initially; actor Temuera Morrison’s voice was later dubbed over Wingreen’s, to provide continuity with the prequel series’ origin story of Fett being a clone of his father Jango.

The character’s legacy continues to this day; The Mandalorian thrilled fans when it was recently revealed that Fett survived his apparent death in Return of the Jedi — with Morrison, the new voice under the helmet, taking over the role.

Bulloch also appeared out of armor as an Imperial officer in The Empire Strikes Back, sharing the screen, through the magic of editing, with himself as Fett in one sequence. He also played a pilot in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and appeared in shows like Dr. Who, and many others. 

He was a mainstay in the comic convention circuit, and loved interacting with fans — he even appeared at a fan’s wedding in his iconic armor.

Bulloch retired from the convention life in 2018, saying at the time, the decision came, “with a heavy heart,” adding, “It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to inspire so many generations of Star Wars fans.”

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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