Jeremy Bulloch, the first actor to play the iconic Boba Fett in Star Wars, died at age 75 on Thursday. Bulloch had played many roles on screen, but he said the role of Boba Fett “changed the entire direction of my life in such a wonderful way.” Boba Fett, the original Mandalorian bounty hunter on Star Wars, plays a large role in the hit show The Mandalorian, where actor Temuera Morrison has taken on the role from Bulloch.
“Jeremy died peacefully on 17th December 2020 following health complications, including several years living with Parkinson’s disease,” Bulloch’s website announced. “He spent his final weeks in the wonderful care of staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, close to the house where he and his wife Maureen had lived together for more than fifty years. Maureen and two of his sons, Jamie and Robbie, were with him during his final days.”
In addition to the Boba Fett role, Bulloch was best known for his roles in the James Bond film Octopussy (1983) and the television series The Newcomers, Doctor Who, Agony, and Robin of Sherwood. Away from the screen, Bulloch played soccer and cricket. He also supported a number of charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, which saved his granddaughter’s life.
“He was devoted to his wife, three sons and ten grandchildren, who all love him dearly and will miss him terribly,” the website’s announcement concluded. Perhaps that is the most important tribute.
Before the death announcement, Bulloch updated his website in August 2018, anouncing that he would stop attending conventions as Boba Fett.
“Dear Friends,” the actor wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to stop attending conventions and hang up the Fett helmet.”
“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. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to inspire so many generations of Star Wars fans,” he added. “I have had over 20 years of travelling with my wife Maureen to some amazing countries and have met so many wonderful fans. Thank you all so much and we will miss you all.”
He concluded with this extremely fitting sign-off: “May the Force be with you always.”
The official Star Wars Twitter account released a fitting tribute to Bulloch.
“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,” the account tweeted. “He will be remembered not only for his iconic portrayal of the legendary character, but also for his warmth and generous spirit which have become an enduring part of his rich legacy.”
Boba Fett, the son of Jango Fett, who became the original source of the DNA for the clone army in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, first emerged in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. While the clones for the clone army had their DNA altered to promote quick aging and obedience to orders, Jango requested one perfect clone to raise as his son: Boba. Jango Fett died on Geonosis at the end of Attack of the Clones.
A bounty hunter, Boba Fett worked with Darth Vader to acquire Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Empire Strikes Back. Fans presumed him dead after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, when Fett fell into the Sarlacc pit. Yet the character emerged yet again in The Mandalorian this season, fighting alongside Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in an epic Mandalorian duo.
Bulloch’s personal legacy lives on with his wife, children, and grandchildren, while his onscreen legacy lives on with Temuera Morrison in The Mandalorian.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.