Erik Bauersfeld

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Erik Bauersfeld
Bauersfeld at Rhode Island Comic Con in 2015
Born(1922-06-28)June 28, 1922
DiedApril 3, 2016(2016-04-03) (aged 93)
OccupationRadio dramatist, voice actor
Years active1961–2015

Erik Bauersfeld (June 28, 1922 – April 3, 2016) was an American radio dramatist and voice actor. His most notable role was providing the voices of Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna in the third film of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi (1983),[1] the former of which he subsequently reprised in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).[2]

Early life[edit]

Bauersfeld was attracted to radio work at a very young age. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy. His post-secondary education included time studying at Cooper Union in New York, and then at the University of California, Berkeley, where he concentrated on aesthetics and painting.[3]


Bauersfeld was teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute, when he began working at Pacifica Radio station KPFA-FM in Berkeley, beginning in 1961.[4] He served as the Director of KPFA's Drama and Literature Department for 31 years.[5] Outside of radio, he dabbled in voiceover work in films and video games.

Bauersfeld was working at Lucasfilm on a radio project,[2] with sound designer Randy Thom, when eventually he was approached by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt asked him to read for the part of Ackbar. According to Bauersfeld, he was shown a picture of Ackbar and instantly came up with the character's voice.[5] Ackbar's lines, including the memorable exclamation "It's a trap!", took an hour for Bauersfeld to record.[5] He then spent an additional 30 minutes reading for the voice of Bib Fortuna, who was Jabba the Hutt's majordomo.[5] Both of his vocal parts were added to the finished production of Return of the Jedi, but Bauersfeld received no screen credit at the time.[5]

He was the last person to read for the part of Yoda, a role that eventually went to puppeteer Frank Oz.[6]

He also voiced several characters in the 1979 Highbridge audio productions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Bauersfeld reprised his role as the voice of Admiral Ackbar in several video games (including Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron), as well as in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[7]

Personal life and death[edit]

He was a close friend of poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti.[5] In 2015, he attended the Star Wars Celebration at Anaheim.[8]

Bauersfeld died at his home in Berkeley, California, on 3 April 2016, at the age of 93.[9][10]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1983 Return of the Jedi (voice) Admiral Gial Ackbar / Bib Fortuna [11]
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence Gardener (voice) [12]
2015 Crimson Peak Additional voices [13]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Admiral Gial Ackbar (voice) Final film role [12]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Ref.
1993 Star Wars: X-Wing Admiral Gial Ackbar [12]
2009 Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron [14]


  1. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (July 14, 2015). "Let this 93-year-old voice Admiral Ackbar in the new "Star Wars"". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Adam Withnall (5 April 2016). "Admiral Ackbar voice actor Erik Bauersfeld dies aged 93". The Independent. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  3. ^ "California School of Fine Arts | The Faculties". Register - University of California. Vol. II. University of California Press. 1956. p. 12.
  4. ^ Moyer, Justin Wm. (April 5, 2016). "'Star Wars' actor Erik Bauersfeld — 'It's a trap!' — dead at 93". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Hartlaub, Peter (September 20, 2011). "Admiral Ackbar speaks: Erik Bauersfeld a force in 'Star Wars' cosmos". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  6. ^ Admiral Ackbar speaks: The Erik Bauersfeld interview. 14 February 2012 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Hayden, Erik. "Erik Bauersfeld, Admiral Ackbar Voice Actor in 'Star Wars' Films, Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Star Wars Celebration 2015: Ian McDiarmid and More Confirmed". Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  9. ^ Hayden, Erik (April 4, 2016). "Erik Bauersfeld, Admiral Ackbar Voice Actor in 'Star Wars' Films, Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  10. ^ "Erik Bauersfeld, who immortalized, 'It's a trap' as Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars, dies". The Guardian. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  11. ^ Hayden, Erik. "Erik Bauersfeld, Admiral Ackbar Voice Actor in 'Star Wars' Films, Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  12. ^ a b c "Erik Bauersfeld (Visual voices guide)".
  13. ^ Pederson, Erik. "Erik Bauersfeld Dies: Voice Of Admiral Ackbar In 'Star Wars' Films Was 93". Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  14. ^ Kelly, Helen. "Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar actor Erik Bauersfeld dies aged 93". Express Newspapers. Retrieved 16 August 2022.

External links[edit]