As years tic away between now and the original Star Wars trilogy, our heroes are getting older and older. The ultimate fate of all living beings gets closer and closer as the distance widens between now and then. Over the years we have lost many of the original members of the Star Wars cast from the trilogy. Most were supporting characters but those characters are what made the Star Wars Universe “Alive” and “Real”.
One of those great supporting players has passed away. Erik Bauersfeld was the voice behind two of my favorite characters (outta many) in ‘Return of The Jedi’. His character portrayals ranged from both ends of the spectrum in ‘Return of the Jedi’. On one end he played the dastardly major domo to Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna. On the other, the heroic Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar.
Erik Bauersfeld was 93 at the time of his passing. He died of natural causes at his home in Berkeley, CA on April 3, 2016. He was an accomplished radio producer at Berkeley’s KPFA for 31 years. The voice actor only learned of Ackbar’s popularity later in life. He said that when he did his voice over work for ‘Return of the Jedi’ he was given no direction (no surprise with Lucas). It was only after seeing what the Mon Calamari looked like that he created the voice. And the rest is history in a galaxy that was long, long ago and far, far away.
Here’s Mr. Bauersfeld uttering his most famous line as Admiral Ackbar..
He later reprised his role of Ackbar in the ‘Force Awakens’ with puppeteer and actor Tim Rose back in the suit. He provided voices for the 2001 movie A.I. and Crimson Peak last year .He also played Ackbar again in the 1993 computer game, X-wing.
Erik Bauersfeld will be missed and is now one with the Force. Rest in Peace.
Update: Here is an interview with Mr. Bauersfeld from 3 years ago.