Another veteran of the original Star Wars trilogy has become one with the Force, as Jeremy Bulloch, the original actor to don Boba Fett’s iconic armor, has passed away at the age of 75.
As David Prowse did for Darth Vader, Jeremy Bulloch helped elevate the supporting role of an armoured bounty hunter to a massively recognizable pop culture icon. He became a regular face at fan conventions, in and out of costume, until officially retiring from the convention circuit in 2018.
Born in Leicestershire, England, Bulloch began acting in small roles in British movies and television as a teenager, and portrayed Hamlet in a stage production. In 1962 he appeared in The Devil’s Agent, alongside future Star Wars actor Christopher Lee, and went on to portray Smithers, Q’s assistant, in two James Bond films—For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy.
His half-brother, Richard Watts, was an associate producer for The Empire Strikes Back and helped get him the now-iconic supporting role. In a 2004 interview, he claimed “when I read for it was just a character, six foot tall, stocky. I fit the suit, which was the audition. If I hadn’t fit in the suit I wouldn’t have gotten the part.” His performance was inspired by Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars, and he appeared briefly out of costume as an Imperial officer. However, like Prowse, he was overdubbed in the final film, and once again in George Lucas’ updated editions.
Jeremy Bulloch returned for the 1983 follow-up, Return of the Jedi, and also had a small role as a Republic captain in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. However the role of Boba Fett had passed to young New Zealand actor Daniel Logan for the Prequel Trilogy. Logan portrayed Boba in The Clone Wars as well, and more recently Temuera Morrison—who previously played Boba’s father, Jango Fett—took up the role for The Mandalorian.
Jeremy Bulloch’s acting career continued into the 2010s, with many of his last appearances being in Star Wars-related fan projects, until he ultimately retired in 2018. Having suffered from Parkinson’s disease for some time, he is survived by his wife, three sons, and ten grandchildren.
“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,” he wrote in 2018. “It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to inspire so many generations of Star Wars fans.”