Actor Richard LeParmentier, best remembered by Star Wars fans for his role as Admiral Motti, has passed away at age 66. Born in Pennsylvania, LeParmentier was living in the United Kingdom during the height of his acting career, where he made dozens of appearances in films and television.
LeParmentier’s brief but unforgettable performance as Admiral Motti in the original Star Wars demonstrated both the lofty hubris of the Galactic Empire, and the rumbling power of the Force. LeParmentier has the distinction of being the first actor telekinetically throttled by Darth Vader on-screen for his disturbing lack of faith.
LeParmentier was one of the many actors who read for the part of Han Solo, but he was originally hired to play a Mos Eisley bureaucrat named Montross. Just prior to the start of production of Star Wars, this small part was cut from the film. “Then about a month later,” LeParmentier told Star Wars Insider magazine in 1998, “the casting director phoned my agent and said, ‘We’d like Richard to read for the part of Admiral Motti,’ so they sent me another script and I read it, and I thought, ‘Well, okay, it’s two scenes at least, so I’ll do that.’”
Aside from Star Wars, LeParmentier had memorable roles in Superman II, Octopussy, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He was immortalized in plastic in 2000, when an Admiral Motti action figure finally reached the hands of fans. The toy was articulated in such a way as to recreate the choking scene — a gesture LeParmentier would good-naturedly reenact for fans during his many popular convention appearances. Admiral Motti received his full name, “Conan Antonio Motti,” when creator George Lucas provided an off-the-cuff answer to a trivia questioned asked of him by talk show host Conan O’Brien in 2007.