Alfie Curtis, the British actor who earned a place in the Star Wars pantheon for playing the menacing Mos Eisley Cantina scofflaw with the “death sentence on 12 systems,” has died, according to the BBC. He was 87. News of Curtis’s death was first reported by the fan site Elite Signatures.
Curtis had dozens of credits in U.K. film and TV productions — and a bit part in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man — but the London-born actor guaranteed himself a bit of sci-fi immortality by playing Dr. Cornelius Evazan, one of the most wretched members of Tatooine’s wretched hive of scum and villainy in 1977’s original Star Wars: A New Hope. Evazan is the disfigured cantina patron who, with partner Ponda Baba (aka “Walrus Man”), famously harasses Luke Skywalker. “He doesn’t like you,” Evazan tells Luke. “I don’t like you, either.” As the two draw their blasters, they are sliced and diced by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber. (Watch the entire exchange beginning at the 1:45 mark below.)
While Star Wars makeup artist Nick Maley wasn’t happy with the final appearance of Evazan (once telling Yahoo Movies, “I always felt that the texture of the prosthetic didn’t really work terribly well with the texture of the actor’s face”), the scene nonetheless enshrined the character in Star Wars lore. Evazan’s backstory was fleshed out in the short story collection Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina, where we learn he was a surgeon who specialized in deforming his patients. He and Ponda Baba also had cameos on the streets of Jedha in Rogue One, one of many fan-serving Easter eggs director Gareth Edwards included in the 2016 film. (However, that version of Evazan was played by actor Michael Smiley.)
No additional details of Curtis’s death have been released, but his onetime nemesis remembered him fondly on Twitter:
ALFIE CURTIS made the #StarWars Mos Eisley Cantina scene (one of the most memorable I've ever been a part of) even MORE memorable. As horrific as he was on-camera, off-camera he was funny, kind & a real gentleman. Thanks Alf- you'll be missed. #RIP ❤️- mh pic.twitter.com/laxKvbGmrd
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2017
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