Character actor Richard LeParmentier passed away suddenly yesterday, April 16th, at the age of 66. Unless you’re a particularly die-hard Star Wars fan with a good memory for names, you probably don’t recognize his. But I’m betting I can conjure his face in your mind with just seven little words.
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
Yes, LeParmentier played “General Motti” in 1977’s Star Wars, an Imperial officer with the stones to disrespect Darth Vader’s “sad devotion to that ancient religion” in front of Grand Moff Tarkin and everybody. Sure, he nearly got himself Force-choked to death for his trouble, but Vader did finally let him go, which put him well ahead of several other Imperials who had to deliver the Sith lord bad news over the course of the trilogy. I like to think Motti somehow escaped the Death Star and survived to live a quiet retirement in the post-Imperial galaxy, probably under an assumed name. Who knows, maybe he even got (Force) religion.
Of course, LeParmentier’s career wasn’t limited to Lucas’ classic space opera. Born in Philadelphia in 1946, he moved to Britain in 1974 and worked extensively in British television over the years. In addition to Star Wars, he popped up in over a dozen feature films during his long career, including roles in genre flicks such as Rollerball, Superman II, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
In a statement, his family said, “He absolutely loved traveling the world and meeting his friends and fellow Stars Wars fans, whose tributes have given us all the best lines in this message … He was no respecter of convention, except comic conventions.”
So long, Mr. LeParmentier. The Force will be with you…always.