'Star Wars' Actor Richard Bonehill Dies at 67

The British fencer played a host of characters, ranging from Stormtroopers to Nien Nunb, in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi.'
Courtesy of Everett Collection
Bonehill's character Nien Nunb (left) with Billy Dee Williams in 'Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.'

Richard Bonehill, an expert swordsman and horseman who played a stormtrooper, Rebel soldier and many other characters in the Star Wars universe, has died. He was 67.

Bonehill's death was reported Wednesday by the prestigious Truro Fencing Club in England. He served as head coach of the Cornwall club for 12 years until 2007 and was president when he died.

"We are sad to announce the sudden passing of our President and former Head Coach Richard Bonehill," the club, which oversaw the development of three fencers that made it to the 2012 London Olympics, said in a message posted on Twitter. "A great leader and an inspiration."

Details of his death were not immediately available.

The Englishman also worked as an actor, fencer, coach or stuntman on such films as Flash Gordon (1980), Highlander (1986), A Month in the Country (1987) — as Colin Firth's stand-in — Rob Roy (1995), The Avengers (1998) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), and he appeared on TV's Doctor Who.

On The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), Bonehill also appeared as snowtroopers, TIE Fighter pilots, a Tauntaun handler and various aliens including Ree-Yees.

Asked in a 2006 interview which one of his characters he most favored, Bonehill replied: "This is an easy one to answer. At the time, my favorite part was that of a Rebel soldier, purely because it was the most comfortable costume to wear. The masked aliens such as Ree-Yees were the most uncomfortable.

"Over the years I have become very attached and proud to have been a snowtrooper and stormtrooper. The stormtrooper really has become an iconic symbol of the Empire, so I would pick him as my favorite character."

Twitter: @mikebarnes4
Twitter:
@borys_kit

comments powered by Disqus