sheardYou know the dude that Darth Vader chokes without touching in The Empire Strikes Back? Possibly the best Star Wars death of all time? Well, it's a terrestrial death now:  Michael Sheard, who played the role, died of cancer earlier this week.

While most of us Yanks probably only know him for that one memorable role, Sheard was in fact an incredibly busy actor, both on British television and in film. Most recently he spent three years as a "terrifying Latin teacher" (man, did I have a few of those) on Grange Hill, but in the past he also spent time on Coronation Street and Dr. Who. Oddly for a Scot, something about Sheard drove casting directors to hire him to play evil Germans:  he was Goering once, Himmler three times, and played Hitler five freaking times. I'm sure you've seen one of them - remember in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indy runs into Hitler and gets an autograph? Yep, that was Sheard.

By all accounts, Michael Sheard was a consummate professional (known to some as "One Take Mike" for his efficiency on set) and a genuinely warm, friendly person. He appeared regularly at Star Wars events and spent his time with fans rather than hiding out of sight with the other Famous People. Sheard not only recognized people from event to event, but also "formed genuine friendships" with those he met, whether it was through Star Wars or charitable events. "He treated everyone the same, reserving scorn only for lofty actors who treated extras or the public with disdain." Man, do we need more like him.
categories Movies, Cinematical