Actor Alan Harris, known for playing a number of roles within the Star Wars saga, has passed away at the age of 81, as confirmed by Imperial Signings on Facebook. Harris had the rare distinction of appearing in all three original trilogy films as different characters, the most famous of which being Bossk in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Fans might not have seen Harris' face in the role, but it marked a rare on-screen appearance for the bounty hunter, who would go on to earn a passionate following from fans in subsequent years, in addition to the character being featured in a number of continued adventures.
Despite the actor not having as many recognizable on-screen performances, he was a regular of the convention circuit, often meeting with fans and sharing behind-the-scenes anecdotes of his time in the galaxy far, far away. Imperial Signings noted that he had struggled with health issues for a number of years.
Harris' first appearance in the franchise came in Star Wars: A New Hope, playing a member of Princess Leia's Rebel escort and also a mechanic in the war room. Additionally, he played a stormtrooper in the film. With The Empire Strikes Back, Harris played Bossk, as well as a Rebel trooper on Hoth and a member of the Bespin Wing Guard. He also served as a stormtrooper in Cloud City.
Some of the more interesting ways Harris contributed to The Empire Strikes Back happened behind the scenes, as his body was molded to create Han Solo frozen in carbonite, as well as having the Boba Fett costume molded to fit his body, though actor Jeremy Bulloch wore the costume in the actual film.
While Bossk did appear in Return of the Jedi, Trevor Butterfield wore the bounty hunter's costume as Harris served as C-3PO's stand-in to make all the necessary lighting adjustments. He also played a stormtrooper in the film.
Harris was recruited to return to the franchise with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to serve as a stand-in for Terence Stamp, who played Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum.
Prior to joining Star Wars, Harris worked in theater and as a model, and also served in the army.1comments
"I have no regrets whatsoever at leaving my modeling and theatre career behind," the actor shared during a 2014 interview. "I have enjoyed my film extra and stand-in career immensely. I feel lucky to have had a successful career, particularly through the 1970s and 1980s"
Our thoughts go out to Harris' family and friends at this time.