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Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died after health complications, including several years living with Parkinson’s disease. He was 75.
Actor Daniel Logan, who grew close with Bulloch after playing a younger version of Boba Fett in 2002’s Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, confirmed that Bulloch died Thursday in his native England.
“Jeremy was the one to teach me how to be a gentleman and interact with fans at conventions and show up and be present,” Logan told The Hollywood Reporter upon news of the actor’s death. “He was a true English gentleman.”
Bulloch spent his final weeks at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, close to the home where he and his wife, Maureen, had lived for more than 50 years, according to a statement on the actor’s website. “Maureen and two of his sons, Jamie and Robbie, were with him during his final days,” the statement reads.
Bulloch played the mysterious, fan-favorite bounty hunter in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The Englishman had a lengthy career, appearing in several films and television shows, including Doctor Who and Robin of Sherwood.
In the Star Wars films, Bulloch wore the Fett costume, but the character’s voice was initially provided by Jason Wingreen before the updated versions with Temuera Morrison, who is currently playing the role on The Mandalorian. Bulloch had a cameo in Empire sans mask, playing an Imperial officer on Cloud City. He also had a cameo in 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Said George Lucas Thursday upon hearing the news, “Jeremy brought the perfect combination of mystery and menace to his performance of Boba Fett, which is just what I wanted the character to convey. In addition, Jeremy was a true gentleman who was very supportive of Star Wars and its fans, and I’m very grateful for his contributions to the saga and its legacy.”
Bulloch was the half brother of Star Wars producer Robert Watts, who brought the actor in to see if the Boba Fett costume would fit him. Recalled Bulloch in a 2015 interview: “I remember George Lucas saying, ‘Welcome aboard. It’s not a big role, but I think you’ll have some fun.’”
“Not a big role” could not have been more inaccurate. While at the time it may have been believed the character would be minor, Boba Fett took on a life of its own thanks to the notorious 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special in which Fett appeared as a cartoon character. Fans were so taken by him, Kenner made a Boba Fett action figure that was released with toys from the first film, A New Hope. It is actually a version of the Boba Fett figure that is considered the Holy Grail among toy collectors. The image and lore of Boba Fett has lived on, helping inspire The Mandalorian, Disney+’s breakout hit.
Born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England, Bulloch trained at Corona Stage Academy. He had more than 100 acting credits, including films such as Summer Holiday and Octopussy.
But it was Boba Fett that maintained a special place in his heart, with the actor spending decades touring the convention circuit to meet with fans.
“He had rooms of fan-made things, letters and artwork,” Logan says of Bulloch’s special relationship with his fans.
Away from show business, Bulloch was a talented footballer and cricketer, his family says. He also supported a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital, which saved his granddaughter’s life.
Bulloch is survived by his wife, three sons and 10 grandchildren.
4:40 p.m.: Updated with a statement from Geroge Lucas.
Jeremy Bulloch, whose unforgettable performance as notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett has captivated audiences since he first appeared in 1980's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, has sadly passed away. pic.twitter.com/Wekhv3rxqN
— Star Wars (@starwars) December 17, 2020
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