Jeremy Bulloch, Who Played Boba Fett in ‘Star Wars’ Movies, Dies at 75
Jeremy Bulloch, the British actor who helped to make Boba Fett, the menacing bounty hunter with the dented helmet and T-shaped visor, one of the most popular characters in the “Star Wars” firmament, died on Thursday. He was 75.
Mr. Bulloch’s death was confirmed by a statement on his website, which said he had spent his final weeks at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London. Mr. Bulloch had health complications, including Parkinson’s disease, the statement said.
Mr. Bulloch became an actor at an early age, starring in commercials before expanding into television, stage, and film.
Among his credits were numerous TV shows from the 1970s and ’80s, including “Doctor Who” and “Robin of Sherwood.” He also played supporting roles in three James Bond features — “Octopussy,” “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “For Your Eyes Only.”
But he was best known for playing Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
Mr. Bulloch landed the role thanks to his half brother, Robert Watts, who was an associate producer of “The Empire Strikes Back,” according to StarWars.com. “‘If the suit fits, the part’s yours,’” Mr. Watts once recalled telling Mr. Bulloch. “He came in and it fit.”
Mr. Bulloch said that donning Boba Fett’s battered armor, jetpack and helmet was a pleasure and a life-changing experience, although the costume itself could be quite uncomfortable.
He said he had modeled the mysterious mercenary’s slow, deliberate head nod and cold, imposing physicality on Clint Eastwood’s turn as the laconic gunslinging antihero in the classic Spaghetti western “A Fistful of Dollars.”
“I thought of Boba Fett as Clint Eastwood in a suit of armor,” Mr. Bulloch once said, according to StarWars.com. Ben Burtt, the sound designer on “The Empire Strikes Back,” even added the sound of jangling spurs when Fett walked, the website said.
Jason Wingreen, a character actor best known for playing the genial bartender Harry on the hit sitcom “All in the Family,” voiced Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Mr. Wingreen died in 2016. He was 95.
Mr. Bulloch said that he had terrific memories of portraying the character.
“When I walked on to the set for the very first time in the costume, George Lucas looked at the costume and sort of looked out and said: ‘Mm-hmm. Yup. OK. Well, welcome aboard. It’s not a big role, but I’m sure you’ll have fun,’” he recalled in a 2015 interview with the Boba Fett Fan Club, one of many encounters he had with fans of the character and the series.
Mr. Bulloch said he remembered going home after that first day and exulting to his sons: “Yes! I’m doing this.” Their response: “Dad, we’ve got homework to do. We’ll talk later.”
Mr. Lucas said in a statement on StarWars.com that “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.”
Born on Feb. 16, 1945, in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England, Mr. Bulloch also appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back” without Fett’s helmet as an Imperial officer escorting a captive Princess Leia. He had a small role in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” as the captain of the Tantive III, Captain Colton.
Mr. Bulloch is survived by his wife, Maureen, three sons and 10 grandchildren.
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, said Mr. Bulloch “was the quintessential English gentleman.”
“A fine actor, delightful company & so kind to everyone lucky enough to meet or work with him,” Mr. Hamill wrote on Twitter.
Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian, said, “Today we lost the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.”