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Richard Le Parmentier appears in an undated photo provided by Coolwaters Productions. / Richard La Parmentier appears in a scene from the 1977 movie Star Wars IV: A New Hope. - Provided courtesy of Coolwaters Productions / Lucasfilm

'Star Wars' actor Richard Le Parmentier dies at age 66

04/17/2013 by Corinne Heller

Richard Le Parmentier, who played Admiral Motti in the first "Star Wars" film, has died at age 66.

The Pennsylvania native passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday in Austin, Texas, where he had been visiting his children. The cause of his death was not reported.

"Every time we find someone's lack of faith disturbing, we'll think of him. At age 66, Richard Le Parmentier is one with the Force," his family members, Rhiannon, Stephanie, and Tyrone Le Parmentier, said in a statement posted by EW.

The actor moved to the United Kingdom in the 1970s and had recently been living in Bath in England.

"He absolutely loved traveling the world and meeting his friends and fellow 'Star Wars' fans - whose tributes have given us all the best lines in this message," his family added. "We feel very lucky to have been able to spend time with him on a regular basis. He was no respecter of convention, except comic conventions. ... He has gone to the Stars, and he will be missed."

The official "Star Wars" website paid tribute to Le Parmentier, saying in a statement about his death that his "brief but unforgettable performance" as Admiral Motti in the 1977 film "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" demonstrated both the lofty hubris of the Galactic Empire and the rumbling power of the Force."

"Le Parmentier has the distinction of being the first actor telekinetically throttled by Darth Vader on-screen for his disturbing lack of faith," the message added.

In addition to the first "Star Wars," Le Parmentier appeared in films such as the 1983 James Bond flick "Octopussy," the 1988 half-animated Walt Disney classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and the 1980 movie "Superman II," which starred Sarah Douglas, who later became his wife. They had no children together and divorced several years later.

Douglas said on her Twitter page she was sorry to hear about his death and "sad for his kids."

La Parmentier occasionally attended fan conventions and sci-fi events and was followed by "Star Wars" fans on Facebook. Parmentier told the UK website ThisIsCornWall in 2009: "It never ceases to amaze me how many people come up to you. It is just incredible. I have been lucky to travel to many places and wherever I go there are fans."

He also said, regarding "Star Wars": "We knew it was good when we were making it. We knew it was a good story and we were confident of the special effects. But we just did not know just how good it was until we saw it. I was watching in a London cinema with about 1,200 people and there were gasps at the opening sequence when the imperial cruiser flies over. It is the best opening sequence ever."

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