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Michael Culver, ‘Star Wars’ Actor and Victim of Darth Vader, Dies at 85

Michael Culver, ‘Star Wars’ Actor and Victim of Darth Vader, Dies at 85


Michael Culver, the British actor greatest recognized for one of many memorable dying scenes within the Star Wars franchise, died on February 27. He was 85.

Mr. Culver’s dying was confirmed by Alliance Agents, which posted an announcement to social media on Tuesday, and his agent, Thomas Bowington. The company didn’t give a reason behind dying, although Mr. Bowington stated Mr. Culver had had most cancers for a number of years.

He had an extended appearing profession onscreen and stage that spanned over 50 years and included roles in “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” on TV and the 1984 movie “A Passage to India.”

But his most lasting affect on in style tradition got here in 1980, together with his transient function as Captain Needa within the second “Star Wars” movie, “The Empire Strikes Back.” Needa, after shedding observe of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, apologizes to Darth Vader, who promptly chokes him to dying telepathically.

“Apology accepted, Captain Needa,” Vader says, strolling across the captain’s physique and motioning for others to take him away.

Mr. Culver additionally appeared in two “James Bond” movies with the actor Sean Connery, “From Russia With Love” and “Thunderball.”

Michael John Edward Culver was born on June 16, 1938, in London to Daphne Rye, a theater casting director, and Ronald Culver, an actor, in keeping with Mr. Bowington.

Mr. Culver carried out in a number of Shakespeare performs and labored often with the British director Anthony Page, his agent stated.

Mr. Culver is survived by his second spouse, Amanda Ward Culver, and his youngsters, Roderic, Sue and Justin Culver.

His son, Roderic Culver, additionally turned an actor, Mr. Bowington stated.

Later in his life, Mr. Culver largely gave up appearing to concentrate on politics and would have seemingly pursued a political profession had he not been an actor, Mr. Bowington stated.

He nonetheless often visited Star Wars fan occasions, notably one in Chicago in 2019, when “he was misplaced for phrases” when he noticed practically 200 folks ready in line to see him, his company stated in its assertion.

In a 2023 interview on the “Making Tracks” podcast, he recalled that he “knew nothing about” the film earlier than auditioning, and marveled that its extraordinary enchantment meant he was nonetheless requested about it effectively into his 80s.

“When I did ‘Star Wars,’ it simply gave the impression to be, ‘Oh, they’re doing a film about starships.’ So I did it. I simply thought, ‘Well, I hope it’s profitable,’” he stated, including: “You don’t anticipate 40 years later to be nonetheless signing autographs for it.”

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