Jeremy Bulloch Dies: Original Boba Fett Actor From ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Was 75

Jeremy Bulloch, alongside his original costume, Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition at the O2 in London (2017) AP

Jeremy Bulloch, the British actor best known for his performance as Mandalorian warrior and bounty hunter Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Thursday. He was 75.

The news was confirmed by a post on Bulloch’s Facebook page — which is private — and also by Daniel Logan, the younger actor who played the role in the prequel Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

In an all caps Instagram post, Logan thanked Bulloch for teaching him the ropes and continued, “I’ll love you forever.!! [sic] Conventions wont [sic] be the same without you may the force be with you always.

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Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill later tweeted his own tribute, calling Bulloch “a fine actor” and “the quintessential English gentleman.”

Bulloch wore Boba Fett’s armor in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, though the character was voiced by Jason Wingreen. The character is most famous for conveying Han Solo — encased in carbonite — to Jabba the Hutt. Interestingly, before movie fame, Bobba Fett first made a small screen appearance in the infamous 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.

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According to a 2016 Vanity Fair piece, Bulloch had another minor role in The Empire Strikes Back as an Imperial officer — later identified as Lieutenant Sheckil. It’s Sheckil who grabs Leia when she warns Luke Skywalker of Vader’s trap in the Cloud City. No one was available to play the part, so Bulloch went to the wardrobe and got changed into the “Imperial Officer’s outfit.” It is his only non-masked appearance in the original Star Wars trilogy.

According to IMDb, Bulloch also appeared in another role, that of Captain Colton, in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. His half-brother is Robert Watts, an associate producer on The Empire Strikes Back.

Here is the post from Bulloch’s Facebook page:

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. Maureen and two of his sons, Jamie and Robbie, were with him during his final days. Jeremy had a long and happy life as an actor and was best known for his roles in the films Summer Holiday, Star Wars and James Bond; TV series the Newcomers, Doctor Who, Agony and Robin of Sherwood, and several West End theatre productions. Away from the screen Jeremy was a talented footballer and cricketer. He also supported a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital who saved his granddaughter’s life. He was devoted to his wife, three sons and ten grandchildren, who all love him dearly and will miss him terribly.

Boba Fett was always a fan favorite and, with The Mandalorian a certified hit on Disney+, the character’s stature has only grown. In fact, Fett made an appearance on the show earlier this month in the form of Temuera Morrison, the actor who previously played Boba Fett’s father, Jengo, in the prequel film “Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Jengo’s DNA provided the template for the Republic’s Clone Army in that film as well as for Boba.

Bulloch began acting at the age of 12 and, during his log career, crossed paths with many of his Star Wars peers in other projects. After appearances on television, Bulloch was cast opposite the future Count Dooku, Christopher Lee, in The Devil’s Agent. In the early 1970s, Bulloch, Darth Vader actor David Prowse and John Hollis, who would later play Lando Calrissian’s aide Lobot, all had parts in a Doctor Who serial.

Bulloch had several small roles in another great screen franchise: James Bond. He starred as quartermaster Q’s assistant Smithers in both For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bulloch played a crewman on the HMS Ranger.

The actor was a mainstay at Star Wars conventions. When he retired from fan events in 2018, Bulloch issued the following statement:

Dear Friends

It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to stop attending conventions and hang up the Fett helmet. It has not been an easy decision to make. In 1979 I was called onto the set of Empire Strikes Back to play Boba Fett, and since that day it has changed the entire direction of my life in such a wonderful way. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to inspire so many generations of Star Wars fans. I have had over 20 years of travelling [sic] with my wife Maureen to some amazing countries and have met so many wonderful fans. Thank you all so much and we will miss you all.

‘May the Force be with you always’

– Jeremy

Ironically — or maybe appropriately — the official Star Wars Twitter account has been posting behind-the-scenes footage from Empire this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the film’s release in (May of) 1980. Bulloch — as Boba Fett — appears briefly in the footage.

The official Star Wars Twitter page later posted its own tribute to Bulloch.

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