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Willam Hootkins passes away PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 26 October 2005 00:00

Bill Hootkins
Bill Hootkins
William Hootkins, who played Jek Porkins in the original Star Wars film, has passed away at age 58.

According to What's On Stage :

American stage and screen actor William Hootkins - who lived and worked for many years in the UK and was last seen on the London stage in Hitchcock Blonde - has passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed earlier this year, he died last night (Sunday 23 October 2005) at St Johns Hospital in Santa Monica near his Californian home. He was 58.

Born in Dallas, Texas on 5 July 1948, the ebullient Hootkins ? known as Bill or 'Hoot' to his friends - made his stage debut in a local school production that co-starred a fellow student who later had success in Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones. He initially tried to distance himself from drama by studying astrophysics and Chinese linguistics at Princeton University, but soon became involved with Princeton?s Intime Theatre group. On the recommendation of his friend, John Lithgow, he moved to the UK after graduation to study at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) and subsequently made his home in this country.

Jek Porkins
Jek Porkins
In a busy career, Hootkins worked regularly on both sides of the Atlantic. His first film role was in 1977, playing Jedi fighter Jek Porkins in George Lucas' Star Wars. Though the part was small, it had a big impact. He joked in a Whatsonstage.com interview two years ago (See 20 Questions, 28 Jul 2003): "In a sense, my career's been downhill ever since. Fans still come to greet me at the stage door with action figures of my character and embarrassing photographs for me to sign."

But such recognition did have its upside. As he also told Whatsonstage.com: "I still didn't realise what power would come from that job until a year later I received my first fan letter. In it was a drawing of my scene by a little boy, and it was actually a clearer and more understandable version of the scene than George Lucas'! He asked if he could have an autographed photo. When I checked the return address, it was the leukaemia ward of a children's hospital. It's a blessing to me that I have any power to make even the tiniest difference in other people's lives."

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Click here for the Jed Porkings fan site 

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 January 2006 07:00
 

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