This is not a trap. One of the well-known voices of an entire generation of cinephiles passed away peacefully in his home on the 4th April 2016. Erik Bauersfield, better known as Admiral Ackbar, has died at 93 years of age.
An Odd Sort of Fame
He spent his last moments in his home in California, according to his manager Derek Maki, who addressed the Associated Press soon after Erik’s passing. Bauersfield, who spent much of his career behind a microphone rather than in front of a camera, was most famous for delivering the iconic line “It’s a trap!” as the Rebel forces were ambushed by the Galactic Empire in The Return of the Jedi.
Despite also voicing Bib Fortuna, the head honcho of Jabba the Hutt’s henchmen, Bauersfield received no credits at the end of the movie at the time, but it did not appear to phase the man: he displayed confusion more than anything else when asked about his views on his surprising cult fame.
“The fans who write say they’ll never forget ‘It’s a trap!’ I don’t even remember how I said it,” he told SFGate in September 2011.
A Lifetime of Work
The average movie-goer may not recognise the name until you mention the role of Admiral Ackbar, but during his lifetime, the man was considered many things: a mentor by award-winning sound designer Randy Thom; a friend by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; and an expert in the craft of radio by everyone who knew him. After announcements of his passing, you can be sure that it was as though a million voices cried out in terror: he will be missed by friends, family and fans alike.
However, this man’s legacy lives on: he has a permanent place in the history of cinema and pop culture, as well as having reprised his role as the Admiral in the most recent iteration in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His other works include voice acting in several video games based on the Star Wars universe, along with some more movie roles in Crimson Peak and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. His most significant work, however, is likely his time as the Director of KPFA’s drama and literature department for over 30 years.
While Bauersfield’s lifetime of work comprised much more than just his brief spot in The Return of the Jedi, it seems fitting that one of his last roles was to return to the universe of Star Wars. Will the character of Ackbar die with him? Only time will tell.