Star Wars: A New Hope Mos Eisley Cantina Actress Penny McCarthy Passes Away

Penny McCarthy, who had several roles working on the original Star Wars due to the almost guerrilla nature of the filmmaking involved, has passed away. McCarthy was an auditor and/or production assistant in a number of movies throughout the '70s and '80s, including the Rolling Stones documentary Let's Spend the Night Together, director Sydney Pollack's Absence of Malice, and Michael J. Fox's Bright Lights, Big City. When it came time to make Star Wars, McCarthy had three on-camera roles -- none of which would be recognizable to anyone who didn't already know it was her -- as well as some uncredited behind the scenes work.

McCarthy worked as an assistant auditor, as well as a hand double/stand-in for Carrie Fisher in Star Wars.
She also played a Cantina Band Member, a Jawa, and Kardue'sai'Malloc, a criminal seen on Tattooine. News of her passing came from Fantha Tracks, who in turn got the information from a pair of companies for whom McCarthy would sign autographs and make appearances.

"Such a shame to wake up to find that Penny McCarthy has sadly passed away," said a post on the Elite Signatures Facebook page. "My condolences goes out to her family, she was such a sweet heart and so glad i got to meet her again in December in LA."


Even the smaller roles McCarthy played were pretty memorable ones for hardcore Star Wars fans. She was the "restraining bolt" Jawa in A New Hope, one of the only ones to have anything resembling a personality, and the beat where she was the hand double for Leia? The close-up shot of Leia inserting the disc into R2-D2.

Her Hollywood career ended in the late '80s, and in recent years, McCarthy had earned some extra income by appearing at fan conventions around the world.

The roles she played on-camera were all fairly small, even if memorable -- but of course, Star Wars being the monolith that it is, a broader mythology rose up around Kardue'sai'Malloc later. The demonic-looking alien ended up demanding one of the highest bounties in the galaxy for crimes he committed, and ultimately ran afoul fo Boba Fett. He, or someone like him, also appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special, although not played by McCarthy that time around, and never named.


McCarthy's cause of death was not disclosed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time.