Michael Leader, Star Wars' Clumsy Stormtrooper, Has Passed Away

Actor Michael Leader passed away this week, after a forty-year acting career that started as an extra, playing a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. The British actor is best known across the pond as the Milkman in EastEnders, a long-running soap that started - with Leader in tow - in 1985. Over the course of over thirty years, he appeared several times, though he rarely uttered a word. Leader also had guest roles in Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, giving him quite the science fiction pedigree despite only ever playing bit parts.

However, Star Wars fans around the world would recognize Leader's role in the first film, even if they don't recognize his name or face. That's because Leader was the infamous "Clumsy Stormtrooper" in the film, who hit his head on an archway while walking into a room. Hey, those Stormtrooper costumes don't give you much in the way of peripheral vision - if your head isn't pointed so you're looking directly at something, you may not see it... and walk into it.

As spotted by GamesRadar, Leader was even homaged in last year's Star Wars Battlefront from EA and DICE, with a very subtle Easter Egg.

The BBC tweeted out the news, saying, "Our dear friend and colleague Michael Leader passed away on Monday. He will be greatly missed."

Leader's final scenes on EastEnders were as recent as July of this year, when he helped another longtime castmember take a tour of their town before she left the show.

The 2004 DVD of A New Hope actually enhanced the sound of Leader's Stormtrooper knocking his head on the doorway, which carried over to the blu-ray releases of the film, in tribute to his fan-favorite status for the gaffe.

RIP, Mr. Leader. May the Force Be With You.

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