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Star Wars Actors You May Not Know Passed Away In 2021

Since making its debut in 1977, "Star Wars" has grown to become one of the most popular and successful entertainment franchises the world has ever seen. It encompasses everything from blockbuster films and high-profile television series to video games and toys while making characters such as Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Yoda some of the most recognizable figures in fiction.

Whether you like the franchise or not, it's practically impossible to escape the influence of "Star Wars" — especially now that Disney+ is releasing shows such as "Obi-Wan Kenobi" and "The Mandalorian" on the streaming service and introducing brand new audiences to iconic characters. Of course, this has made understanding the entire "Star Wars" timeline somewhat tricky for newcomers, but it's worth the effort to dive in and become engrossed in one of the most fleshed-out movie universes.

The sheer size of the property, which includes more than a dozen movies of varying quality, means that a lot of actors have portrayed characters over the years. Some have taken to the big screen in live-action roles, while others have provided voices to animated characters in cartoons or games. Sadly, that also means that many of them have passed away since appearing in the franchise, including these actors who you may not know left us in 2021.

Trisha Noble

Australian actress and singer Trisha Noble had a relatively minor role in the "Star Wars" franchise, portraying Jobal Naberrie, Padmé Amidala's mother, in the prequel trilogy. The character briefly appears in "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" but also filmed scenes for "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones." However, her part was cut from the final edit of the second film — though it lives on in a deleted scene — meaning that her only credit came from the third entry in the prequel movies. Jobal can only be seen during Padmé's funeral among other mourners.

Her "Star Wars" role proved to be Noble's final movie appearance, although she did continue to perform on stage. The Daily Mail reported that Noble died on January 23, 2021, following an 18-month illness with mesothelioma, a tumor usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Noble was a prolific actor who started off on British television on "The Benny Hill Show" and went on to star in movies and television shows in Australia, the UK, and the US. These included "Columbo" and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

Harry Fielder

Harry Fielder is an English actor who made his sole "Star Wars" appearance in 1977 when he portrayed Corporal Grenwick in "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope" (then just known as "Star Wars," of course). The character was an Imperial officer aboard the Death Star and worked in the detention block of the space station. He was present during the interrogation of Princess Leia, standing behind Darth Vader as he attempted to extract information from the Rebellion leader.

Before his "Star Wars" role, Fielder was cast in projects such as "Oliver!" and "Cromwell." Many of these roles were uncredited, though, and IMDb confirms that of his 280 projects, he worked largely as a supporting artist rather than as part of the main cast. He also had more than a dozen roles in episodes of "Doctor Who" and worked with George Lucas again on "Raiders of the Lost Ark." In his later life, Fielder portrayed characters in "Mission: Impossible" and "The Bill" before his final appearance in the 1999 film "Entrapment."

The actor's official website confirmed his death on February 6, 2021. According to his son Stewart Fielder, the 80-year-old passed away peacefully in his sleep during the night, but no cause of death was provided.

Phil Eason

Despite playing an important role in many movies and television series, not many people will recognize Phil Eason. That's because he worked primarily as a puppeteer and voice artist. In terms of "Star Wars," he performed the part of Yaddle in "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace." She is a female Jedi Master who serves on the Jedi High Council and is part of the same species as Yoda. Speaking to Star Wars Interviews, Eason explained that he was initially contacted to help Frank Oz operate the eyes on Yoda but ended up operating another puppet that was similar to the Jedi master.

While Eason did have a limited number of acting roles, the vast majority of his work in movies and television was as a puppeteer. His first film credit was for "Little Shop of Horrors," and his career spanned "Muppet Treasure Island" and "Lost in Space" to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." His most recent projects included 2019's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" for Netflix and the British satirical series "Spitting Image" in 2020. Eason died on April 5, 2021, at the age of 60, with his longtime collaborator Darryl Worbey Studio, announcing the news on Twitter.

Felix Silla

Italian actor and stuntman Felix Silla might not be immediately recognizable to "Star Wars" fans because he played a costumed character. He appeared in "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi" as one of the Ewoks flying around Endor on a hang glider during the battle against the Empire. This particular Ewok, which had dark fur, was responsible for dropping rocks at the stormtroopers in the forest, although he was seemingly killed when shot with a blaster, prompting him to fall from the sky and crash into the ground.

Silla rose to prominence after appearing in the 1965 television series "The Addams Family" as Cousin Itt, a character original to the series. He portrayed the character in 17 episodes and went on to appear in "H.R. Pufnstuf" as a variety of characters between 1969 and 1970. His most famous role outside of these projects was likely the robot Twiki in "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Silla died at the age of 84 on April 16, 2021, after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His final project was the television miniseries "Meet Slate," which was broadcast in 2018.

Tony Armatrading

Tony Armatrading was a British actor and brother to the singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading. With a long career acting on stage, in films, and on television, Armatrading has a wide variety of credits to his name. "Star Wars" fans will likely not recognize him, though, as his contribution to the science-fantasy series came as a voice actor in the video game "Star Wars: The Old Republic." Developed by BioWare, the title is an MMO set thousands of years before the events of the movies. The actor portrayed the Sith Lord Xalek along with other characters such as Astar Vox, Yudrass, and Elias Inkari.

Memorable performances for Armatrading came in the 1997 film "The Saint" and "Now You See Me 2" in 2016. However, his most famous role was in the romantic comedy "Notting Hill" in 1999. The actor was also a frequent stage performer, particularly for three seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company; he also taught Shakespeare at the California Institute of the Arts (per The Guardian). His final credit was in a 2020 episode of "Hawaii Five-0" before he died from cancer at the age of 59 on May 10, 2021 (per The Guardian).

Ed Asner

Ed Asner has contributed to the "Star Wars" universe on two separate occasions. Firstly, he voiced the infamous crime lord Jabba the Hutt in the six-episode radio version of "Return of the Jedi." This audio story was first broadcast on NPR in 1996 and featured the voice talent of Anthony Daniels, reprising his role as C-3PO, as well as Joshua Fardon, Arye Gross, and Perry King. Asner would later return to the franchise for the video game "Knights of the Old Republic" and its sequel. In the game, he portrayed Jedi Master Vrook Lamar, a member of the Jedi Council and an important figure in the story.

Asner made his name portraying Lou Grant in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and a drama spin-off, "Lou Grant." He was nominated for a total of 17 Emmy Awards and won seven throughout his career, mostly for his role as Lou. The actor also had memorable performances in both "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots." Younger viewers will likely recognize his voice, as he portrayed Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar classic "Up" in 2009.

He passed away on August 29, 2021, at the age of 91, with The New York Times confirming that no cause of death was given by his family. Following his death, Asner posthumously appeared in a cameo role in "The Muppets Haunted Mansion" (per Comic Book) and has a variety of upcoming projects that will also be released posthumously.

Michael Kenneth Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams is unique as a "Star Wars" actor in that viewers never got to see his performance. He originally filmed the role of Dryden Vos, the leader of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which acts as an origin story for Han Solo. But amid behind-the-scenes reshuffling, he was replaced by Paul Bettany. With Ron Howard taking the reins for the film from its previous directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Williams was unavailable for reshoots, as he was filming "The Red Sea Diving Resort," and was cut from the film (per Entertainment Weekly). Howard replaced him with the MCU stalwart to keep the movie from being further delayed and turned the role of Vos from a motion-capture character to a humanoid Bettany.

Williams was an established Hollywood star with over 100 television and movie credits. His career spans awards contenders like "12 Years a Slave," "Inherent Vice," and "The Road," but he is arguably best known for his portrayal of Omar Little in HBO's "The Wire." He also starred in "Boardwalk Empire" as Albert "Chalky" White and had high-profile roles in "Bessie," "When They See Us," "Lovecraft County," "The Night Of," and "Community." His work earned him five Emmy Award nominations in total.

Williams died on September 6, 2021, after being found unresponsive at his New York home by his nephew. It was later confirmed that his death was the result of an accidental drug overdose (per the BBC).

Gerald Home

British actor Gerald Home portrayed two characters in "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi." The first was Tessek, a male Quarren, who has a squid-like head. Tessek works as an accountant for Jabba the Hutt and can be seen in his palace when Luke Skywalker is captured. Home also played Captain Verrack, a Mon Calamari officer with the Rebel Alliance. In scenes with Admiral Ackbar, he sits next to him in the control room of the cruiser during the Battle of Endor. Verrack was the character responsible for informing Akcbar about the presence of Imperial ships, leading to his famous "It's a trap!" line.

Outside of "Star Wars," Home had a career that saw him take on roles in a wide array of television series and movies. These include the likes of "Casualty," "Time Gentlemen Please," and "Jenny's War." More recently, he appeared in both "Chatroom" and "London Boulevard." He also worked as a puppeteer for "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Spitting Image."

Before his death, Home was also influential in "Star Wars" fan groups and helped form the S.W.O.R.A. "alliance," which connected fan sites from countries across the world. For his work, TheForce.net announced that Home was made the official ambassador of the group in 2008. Fan sites reported that he died on October 6, 2021, at the age of 70, from liver cancer.

Jack Angel

Only a select few "Star Wars" fans will likely know that Jack Angel had a role in the series. In 1995, he provided voice work the LucasArts game "Star Wars: Dark Forces" as General Rom Mohc, a human male who had served the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars and transitioned to the Galactic Empire following Emperor Palpatine's rise to power. He essentially acts as the main villain for the game and is responsible for running the Dark Trooper Project, which attempted to replace stormtroopers with a new, more powerful army.

The radio host and voice actor was well-known for animated series and video games. He worked extensively on cartoons such as "Super Friends," "Voltron: Defender of the Universe," the 1981 "Spider-Man" series, "The Smurfs," and "The Transformers" and worked on a number of Disney and Pixar projects, including "Aladdin," "Hercules," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story," and "Tarzan." He was also one of the voices of Smokey the Bear in commercials. In terms of video games, he has provided voices for characters in the likes of "Final Fantasy XV," "World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth," and "Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City." Angel died on October 18, 2021, at the age of 90, with no cause of death provided by his family (per Metro).

Anthony May

Anthony May was a British actor who trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the 1960s. After graduating, he landed roles in films such as "Isadora" and "Cromwell," along with television series that included "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall." His 50-year career mostly encompassed stage roles, including with the London Shakespeare Group and at London's Young Vic theater, his roles ranging from Hamlet to Thomas Cromwell in "A Man for All Seasons" (per The Stage). He also played the King of the Dead in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

His role in the world of "Star Wars" came in 2004, when he provided additional voice work for several characters on Onderon for the 2004 video game "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II — The Sith Lords."

May had several other roles in video games over the years. He voiced characters in the video games "Fable: The Journey," "Xenoblade Chronicles," and "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn." He has also appeared in long-running British television series like "Holby City," "Doctors," and "The Bill." He died on December 24, 2021, at the age of 75 (per The Stage).