The Star Wars franchise lost a beloved figure over the weekend, with actor Erik Bauersfeld, who voiced Admiral Ackbar, passing away at the age of 93. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed through Derek Maki, Erik Bauersfeld's manager, that the actor died Sunday morning at his home in Berkeley, California. While he was also an accomplished radio dramatist, he will be most remembered for voicing the Mon Calimari Rebel commander Admiral Ackbar, and his iconic line "It's a trap!"
Tim Rose Physically played Admiral Ackbar in both Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and the current blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has taken in over $2 billion at the box office. But the character's voice was provided by Erik Bauersfeld in both movies. He also voiced Bib Fortuna, one of Jabba the Hut's employees in Return of the Jedi, while voicing Admiral Ackbar in the 1993 flight simulator video game Star Wars: X-Wing. Here's what he had to say about how he first landed the Admiral Ackbar role on his BardRadio.com website.
"The voice work I did in movies was accidental. I was working with Randy Thom on radio dramas at his technical quarters at Lucasfilm. One day Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars, came by and asked if I would audition for a voice in the movie."
He also provided the voice of Gardener in Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, along with various, unspecified voices for Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. Aside from his voice acting pursuits, he served as the director of the drama and literature department for the Berkeley, California radio station KPFA for 31 years. You can visit his website BardRadio.com for more information on his extensive work in radio drama.
We reported in February that Admiral Ackbar may return in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is currently in production, working towards a December 15, 2017 release date. Actors Joonas Suotamo, who has taken over the heavy lifting for original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, and Tim Rose, were pulled from the Pensacon convention, so they could both shoot a new project together. While it hasn't been confirmed if that project is Star Wars: Episode VIII, it certainly seems likely since production is under way. Chime in with your thoughts on Erik Bauersfeld's death, and stay tuned for any updates on Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars: Episode VIII.