Veteran voice actor Tom Kane, known for his years of work on numerous Star Wars and Marvel projects, has been forced into retirement after suffering a stroke. As well as voicing Admiral Ackbar in The Last Jedi, Kane has most recently been heard as the narrator of Star Wars: The Bad Bunch on Disney+ and also voiced Yoda in many Star Wars video games. During his career, he has been part of almost every Marvel animated series you can bring to mind, and will clearly be a huge miss to the industry that he integrated himself into for a long time.
In a statement released by his family, Kane's daughter Sam shared on Facebook the sad news that her father will no longer be providing his voice to any more characters, and explained how the stroke had made the heart breaking decision necessary.
"Because of this stroke my dad has been forced into early retirement," Sam posted on Friday. "The damage to his speech center is just too severe. He cannot read well nor get out the words he wants, which is sort of required for voice acting. He has what's called Apraxia which means he has difficulty moving smoothly from one sound, syllable or word to another. Groping movements like with his jaw, lips or tongue to make the correct movement for speech sounds are impaired. Essentially he knows exactly what he wants to say, he knows exactly what's going on, but the words are trapped in his head, and when they do come out, it's usually too slurred to understand."
She added on a lighter note, by explaining that Tom Kane has still been able to communicate with his family without the need for speech, saying, "Thank God he's an actor and great at charades."
The statement concluded, "I have SO much more to say about this like how many people miss having conversations with him, especially his children and wife. How f--ked up it is that in a split second one of the most talented voice actors ever lost his voice and career," the family statement added. "I'll stop here or else I'll cry and I've already done that like a thousand times this year!! Please feel free to send him letters! I'll be managing this PO Box, please add your email or Instagram handle so I can send pictures to you of my dad receiving your mail! He has also been practicing his signature and would love to start autographing from home!!"
The news of Kane's condition was announced in December when he suffered the stroke and was warned that there could be a possibility that his speech would never recover enough for him to be able to return to voice over work. Other projects to have featured Kane over the years have included numerous entries in the Call of Duty game series, voicing Magneto and Ultron in Marvel game projects, and as the Powerpuff Girls' professor, as well as the voice of Walt Disney World's Monorail System. While he may not have been a big name star in Hollywood terms, his contribution to the industry is one that is so great, his absence will certainly be a notable one in future. We wish him all the best in his continued recovery.