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R.I.P., (Voice of) Boba Fett

Jason Wingreen was 95 and had a very long career. You know four of his lines.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Jason Wingreen, the character actor who provided the voice of Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back,” died late last month at the age of 95.

Wingreen had a long career that included an extended run on “All in the Family,” and you can read respectful obits for him in The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly. But the reason you care about him is that he was the original actor who spoke all four of Boba Fett’s lines in the second “Star Wars” movie.

Yep, four lines. Fits on one Tweet:

I’m part of the original Star Wars fanboy generation, and I can’t explain why a character that had four lines in one movie and no lines in another (“Return of the Jedi”) became such a fanboy favorite. The jetpack helped, of course. And so did the fact that he (temporarily) defeated Han Solo, the coolest guy in the series.

In any case, Boba Fett is one of the most popular characters in one of the world’s most popular movies, and Wingreen helped make him so.

Wingreen didn’t get much of that reflected glory — and none of the financial benefit, besides his payment for a day’s work — and in a 2010 interview with the Classic History TV Blog, he gripes about that.

Much more fascinating, though, is his description of his brief encounter with “Star Wars” creator George Lucas:

“Now, after saying goodbye, I’m leaving. Gary Kurtz was with me, walking me out. Well, sitting in the dark, in the back, in a room right near the exit, is George Lucas, whom I had not met when I came in. So Gary Kurtz introduces me to Mr. Lucas, and I said to him, ‘I don’t believe we’ve ever met.’

“He didn’t get up; he remained seated. And he said to me the words that I still don’t know what he meant. He said, ‘No, but I know Boba Fett.’ That was it. And then I left.

“Now, I’m not imitating the sound of his voice, or even the delivery, because it wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint. It wasn’t like, ‘I know Boba Fett, and you’re not it.’ Or, ‘I know Boba Fett, and you did a terrific job with it.’ It wasn’t that at all. It was just, ‘No, but I know Boba Fett.’ To this day, I don’t know what he meant.”

The rest of the interview is great, too. Read it here.

This article originally appeared on

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