Mark Hamill

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Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born Mark Richard Hamill
(1951-09-25) September 25, 1951 (age 65)
Oakland, California, United States
Alma mater Los Angeles City College
Occupation
  • Actor
  • voice actor
  • writer
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Marilou York (m. 1978)
Children 3
Signature
Mark Hamill signature.svg

Mark Richard Hamill (born September 25, 1951) is an American actor, voice actor and writer best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film series. Hamill also starred in the films Corvette Summer (1978) and The Big Red One (1980), among other television shows and movies. He has also appeared on stage in several theater productions, primarily during the 1980s.

Hamill is a prolific voice actor who has voiced characters in many animated television shows, movies, and video games since the 1970s. He is best known for his long-standing role as DC Comics' the Joker, commencing with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.

Early life[edit]

Hamill was born in Oakland, California, to Virginia Suzanne (née Johnson; 1927–98) and U.S. Navy Captain William Thomas Hamill (b. 1927).[1] He is one of seven children, having two brothers, Will and Patrick, and four sisters, Terry, Jan, Jeanie, and Kim.[2] His father has English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh ancestry and his mother was of half Swedish and half English descent.[3][4] His father's changes of station, and attendant family moves, led to the Hamill children changing schools often. In his elementary years, he went to Walsingham Academy and Poe Middle School.[5] At age 11, he moved to the 5900 block of Castleton Drive in San Diego, California, where he attended Hale Junior High School.[citation needed] During his first year at James Madison High School, his family moved to Virginia, and Hamill attended Annandale High School.[6] By his junior year, his father was stationed in Japan, where Hamill attended and was a member of the Drama Club at Nile C. Kinnick High School, from which he graduated in 1969.[citation needed][7] He later enrolled at Los Angeles City College, majoring in drama.[6]

Hamill was raised as a Roman Catholic, and described his father as a "Nixon Republican".[8]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Hamill's early career included a recurring role on the soap opera General Hospital,[9] and a starring role on the short lived sitcom The Texas Wheelers.[10] He portrayed the oldest son, David, in the pilot episode of Eight Is Enough, though the role was later performed by Grant Goodeve.[11] He also had guest appearances on The Bill Cosby Show,[12] The Partridge Family,[citation needed], Room 222 and One Day at a Time.[citation needed] He appeared in multiple television films such as The City,[citation needed] and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.[citation needed]

Star Wars[edit]

Main article: Star Wars

Robert Englund was auditioning for a role in Apocalypse Now when he walked across the hall where auditions were taking place for George Lucas's Star Wars. After watching the auditions for a while, he realized that Hamill, his friend, would be perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker. He suggested to Hamill that he audition for the role; Hamill did, and won the role.[13]

Released in May 1977, Star Wars was an enormous unexpected success and made a huge impact on the film industry. Hamill also appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978[14] and later starred in the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. For both of the sequels, Hamill was honored with the Saturn Award for Best Actor given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.

Hamill reprised the role of Luke Skywalker for the radio dramatizations of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. For the Return of the Jedi radio drama, the role was played by a different actor.

Editions of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces (which influenced Lucas as he was developing the films) issued after the release of Star Wars in 1977 used the image of Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the cover.[15]

Hamill returned to the Star Wars universe in 2014, when he voiced the legendary ancient Sith Lord Darth Bane,[16] in the final episode of the animated series The Clone Wars. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance.

With the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, it was announced that there will be more Star Wars films starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released on December 18, 2015. Hamill appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens[17] and will continue to star in the new trilogy, alongside fellow Star Wars actors Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, respectively.[18]

For over a year prior to the announcement, both Disney and Hamill were coy about whether he would be a cast member.[19][20] In September 2013, Robert Englund, actor and long-time friend of Hamill, said that Hamill was currently working out in the gym. Englund stated "Mark now – they've got Mark in the gym, because Mark's coming back as Luke Skywalker. They've got him doing his sit-ups." It was previously reported that both Hamill and Fisher had been assigned nutritionists and personal trainers to work with ahead of production.[21]

Other work[edit]

Hamill in Amsterdam in 1980

After the success of Star Wars, Hamill found that audiences identified him very closely with the role of Luke Skywalker,[22] after which he became a teen idol and appeared on teen magazine covers such as Tiger Beat and others. He attempted to avoid typecasting by appearing in the 1978 film Corvette Summer and the better known 1980 World War II film The Big Red One.[16]In 1980 he also made a guest appearance on The Muppet Show, both as himself and as Luke Skywalker in The Stars of Star Wars;[23] this episode also starred C-3PO and R2-D2 who were along with him on a search for Chewbacca.[24] Other film appearances around this time include The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia in 1981[25] and Britannia Hospital in 1982.[26] To further distance himself from his early blockbuster role, Hamill started acting on Broadway, starring in plays such as The Elephant Man in 1979,[27] Amadeus in 1983,[28] Harrigan 'N Hart in 1985 (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination),[29] Room Service in 1986[30] and The Nerd in 1987-88.[31] When Amadeus was adapted to film in 1984, Hamill auditioned to reprise the role for the big screen, but lost the part to Tom Hulce.[16][32] A studio executive told the producers of the film, "I don't want Luke Skywalker in this film".[33] He made television appearances in a 1986 episode of Amazing Stories and a 1987 episode of The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Hamill returned to film after a six-year hiatus with the 1989 science fiction film Slipstream.[34] He continued to star in films throughout the 1990s, including in such films as the thriller Midnight Ride,[citation needed] The Guyver in 1991,[35] the 1995 remake of Village of the Damned,[36] and the 1998 Swedish action film Hamilton.[37] Hamill appeared in the 2001 film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as the supervillain Cocknocker, a role which parodies both himself and roles he has played in the past.[38]

Hamill at the premiere of F.I.S.T. in 1978

He guest appeared in two episodes as the Trickster in the live-action 1990 television series of The Flash.[39] He has made cameo appearances on MADtv, where he played the estranged father of Ms. Swan,[citation needed] and appeared on Saturday Night Live playing himself being sold on a Star Wars themed home shopping sale.[40] Hamill appeared in single episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun in 1997,[41] Just Shoot Me! in 1998[42] and in two episodes of seaQuest DSV in 1995 (as Tobias LeConte).[43] He also appeared in the episode Mind over Matter of the 1995 television series The Outer Limits.

When the Wing Commander series of computer games started using full motion video cut scenes, Hamill was cast as the series protagonist, Colonel Christopher Blair, a role he played in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom and Wing Commander: Prophecy.[44] In the 1999 Wing Commander film, set earlier in the series, the character was played by Freddie Prinze, Jr., although Hamill had a voice cameo.[45] Hamill appears in Squadron 42, the single player campaign from the Star Citizen computer game universe as Lieutenant Commander Steve "Old Man" Colton.[46][47]

In 2003, Hamill starred in the two-hander play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks as the acerbic gay dance instructor Michael Minetti. He played opposite Rue McClanahan for the season at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, and opposite Polly Bergen as the production moved on to Broadway.[48][49]

Hamill also directed and starred in the 2004 direct-to-DVD Comic Book: The Movie.[50] A comic book fan who attended science fiction and comic conventions before he became famous, Hamill stated that his character was based on an exaggerated version of himself. He and his crew shot most of the "mockumentary" film during the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, and enlisted Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Bruce Campbell and Hugh Hefner in small roles. The movie won an award for Best Live-Action DVD Premiere Movie at the 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards.[citation needed]

In 2011, Hamill appeared as a villain in the fifth season of NBC's show Chuck.[51]

Hamill also appeared in the television series, Criminal Minds in the last two episodes of season eight as John Curtis, aka "The Replicator", a serial killer who has been stalking the BAU team throughout the show's eighth season.[52] He also made a guest appearance alongside George Takei on the season one finale of the ABC sitcom The Neighbors as Commandant Bill.[53]

Hamill did not star in any live action films for a number of years until 2011, when he starred in the Hungarian film Thelomeris, on which he was a creative consultant. The film was the first mainstream science fiction film to be released in Hungary.[54]

The next year Hamill starred in two more live action films, British horror film Airborne and the small independent film Sushi Girl. Airborne was met with a negative reception from critics and audiences.[55] Hamill said in an interview that Sushi Girl was a great challenge for him as it took him out of his comfort zone, since it was such a dark film. He did not accept the role until he got encouragement from his daughter, who said he would be crazy not to accept it.[56]

In 2015, Hamill played James Arnold, an academic professor from Imperial College London and an expert in climate change, in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service. In addition, he reprised his role as the Trickster on The CW's 2014 live-action series The Flash, in the seventeenth episode of the first season and the ninth episode of the second season.[57][58]

He will star in the upcoming 2016 film Minkow, an independent film about the life of Barry Minkow, the famous con man. Hamill plays Minkow's father, Robert Minkow.[citation needed]

Voice acting[edit]

General work[edit]

Hamill has gained a reputation as a prolific voice actor. He first did voice acting work in the early 1970s voicing the character Corey Anders on the Saturday morning cartoon Jeannie by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He later played Sean in the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards, which was released just three months before Star Wars in 1977.

Though the voice role he is most known for is Batman's archenemy the Joker,[16] his success as The Joker has led him to portray a wide variety of characters in television, film, anime, and video games (mostly similar super-villains).

Hamill was the voice of The Hobgoblin in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, and his other Marvel superhero genre roles include the Gargoyle in the animated series of The Incredible Hulk, Maximus in Fantastic Four, Klaw in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and multiple characters in Ultimate Spider-Man. Hamill voiced Solomon Grundy and Trickster in the DC animated universe series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the murderous gangster Tony Zucco in The Batman, an animated series unrelated to the various DC animated universe series. He voiced Spectre in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Non comic related television roles include the deranged shock jock anchorman Dr. Jak in Phantom 2040, Principal John Smith in Totally Spies episode Soul Collector, Christopher "Maverick" Blair in Wing Commander Academy, the classic Walter Lantz character Buzz Buzzard in The New Woody Woodpecker Show, the flamboyant robot Lawrance "Larry" 3000 in Time Squad, the pirate Captain Stickybeard in Codename: Kids Next Door, the ruler of the Fire Nation Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the evil Skeleton King in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, multiple roles in Metalocalypse and the groundskeeper Skips in Regular Show.

He guest starred in The Simpsons episode "Mayored to the Mob" as himself. On the audio commentary of the episode, he says that he has been a fan of the show since it debuted in 1987 on The Tracy Ullman Show and that it was a personal thrill to work with Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson. He has also guest starred in Family Guy and was also a recurring voice actor on Seth Green's Robot Chicken. He has also played himself in two episodes of the Disney Channel animated series Pepper Ann.

Aside from voice acting on television, Hamill has starred in multiple animated films. Some of these roles include The Captain of the Guard in Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists, the biblical figure Judah in Joseph: King of Dreams, the evil wolf Niju in Balto II: Wolf Quest and Chanukah Zombie in Futurama: Bender's Big Score. Hamill has done voice acting in English dubs of two Studio Ghibli films. He voiced Colonel Muska in the second English language version of Castle in the Sky and the Mayor of Pejite in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both directed by Hayao Miyazaki and distributed by Disney.

Notable video game voice roles include Detective Mosely in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, Assistant Director Wilson in Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, Adrian Ripburger in the LucasArts game Full Throttle, two installments of Crash Bandicoot series, Wolverine in X2: Wolverine's Revenge, which was the tie-in game to the film X2, Goro Majima in Yakuza, Malefor The Dark Master in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, The Watcher in Darksiders and Master Eraqus in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. The creator of Kingdom Hearts, Tetsuya Nomura, is a big fan of all of Hamill's work. There is also another character, Master Xehanort, who was voiced by Leonard Nimoy, the actor of Spock. Tetsuya Nomura stated that they wanted the two for the roles, as the two characters are rivals, referencing the rivalry between fans of Star Wars and fans of Star Trek. He also narrated Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, the title being a reference to the 1980 war film he starred in.

Hamill is credited as the narrator in Ancient Voices, a 1999 series of documentaries on archaeology and ancient history produced by as a BBC/The Learning Channel co-production, and published by Time-Life as a DVD series. He also narrated the Medal of Honor and Silver Star citations of Tibor Rubin, Ralph E. Pomeroy, John Finnigan and Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. for the 2013 Korean War documentary Finnigan's War directed by Conor Timmis.

Hamill voiced the character of Todd Wainio in World War Z, a critically acclaimed audiobook based on Max Brooks' novel of the same name. He also provided the entire cast of voices for a 1983 audiobook version of Pinocchio with unique characteristics for each. Hamill also reads life into the characters of the popular juvenile fiction book series, The Spiderwick Chronicles Volumes I–III, by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.

As the Joker[edit]

Hamill's role as the Joker began in the 1992 series Batman: The Animated Series[16] and continued to many later spin-off series, video games and films. Hamill had initially played a guest voice role as corrupt businessman Ferris Boyle in the episode "Heart of Ice."[citation needed] Out of curiosity from the show's executives, they had Hamill audition for the role of Joker, after the previous choice Tim Curry was moved out by the company because the executives wanted to hear something new.[citation needed] After Hamill received word that he had earned the role, he experienced an initial panic due to the fact that he wanted to voice a character who "nobody had preconceived notions about," such as legendary Batman villains Clayface and Dr. Hugo Strange, and because the role of the Joker was too "high profile" in his mind for him to please everyone with his rendition.[this quote needs a citation] His portrayal has garnered significant acclaim;[citation needed] the most prominent feature of it is his dynamic use of laughter to express the Joker's mood.[according to whom?][citation needed] Hamill referred to Joker's laugh as being like a musical instrument and would practice laughing maniacally while driving to recording sessions.[citation needed] Hamill received critical acclaim for his performance, which put him in high demand as a voice over actor of cartoon villains.[59]

Hamill also voiced Joker in three episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, five episodes of The New Batman Adventures, five episodes of Justice League, an episode of Static Shock and a few segments in Robot Chicken. He also voiced the Joker in the 1993 theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and the 2000 direct-to-video film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.[60]

Hamill in 2011

The short-lived WB live-action series Birds of Prey, based on the comic book of the same title, featured a flashback sequence in which the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon and paralyzes her. This sequence featured Hamill voicing Joker, dubbed over actor/stuntman Roger Stoneburner whose facial structure more resembled the character.[citation needed] The actor's face was shot in the background so as to be slightly blurred.[relevant? ]

Hamill voiced the Joker alongside his Batman: The Animated Series co-star Kevin Conroy as Batman and Jason Hillhouse as Dick Grayson in a feature of a storyboard scene included in the 2005 Special Edition DVD of Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman.[citation needed] This scene depicted the origin of Robin, which was not filmed because the producers felt it was out-of-place with the rest of the film.[citation needed]

Hamill has said that he has voiced the Joker for toys and amusement park rides. Although these jobs did not pay particularly well, he enjoyed even these small roles and admitted being protective of the character, expressing concern with others "sleeping in his sleeping bag;"[61] he also self-identifies as a "real comic book nerd".[62]

Hamill has portrayed the Joker in a few Batman-themed video games, notably Batman Vengeance,[citation needed] the Sega CD version of The Adventures of Batman & Robin,[citation needed] and in Batman: Arkham Asylum.[61] Hamill again reprised the role in the Arkham sequel, Batman: Arkham City.[63] In May 2010, Hamill declared to IGN UK that his role in Arkham City would be his last as the Joker.[62] Some months later, with the announcement of Arkham City, he clarified the rumors about him retiring the role by saying, via his Twitter account, "Only said Arkham Asylum would be hard to top, not that I was quitting."[64] On October 19, 2011, shortly after the release of the game, Hamill again announced his retirement on his Twitter account, saying "Hello/Goodbye Joker! I've enjoyed every minute behind the wheel of the Clown Prince's crazy car — I'm going to miss him more than I can say!!".[65] On June 2012, WB Games released the expansion pack titled "The Last Laugh" for the video game DC Universe Online, featuring Hamill as the Joker.[66][full citation needed][67] In 2015, Hamill yet again returned as the Joker in Batman: Arkham Knight with the character recurring through the game as a hallucination.[68]

During a 2011 Comic-Con, when asked about Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning portrayal of the character in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, Hamill claims it was the most original performance he has ever seen since Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.[69][full citation needed]

Hamill has commented that if there would ever be an animated version of Batman: The Killing Joke, he would gladly voice the Joker again, encouraging fans to campaign for said adaptation.[70][71][full citation needed] On July 17, 2015 Hamill tweeted that he had his fingers crossed in hopes that he would be contacted to reprise his role as the Joker in the animated adaptation.[72] On July 27, Collider reported that Hamill will voice the Joker in the film.[73] The film was released in theaters for a two-day limited time. It was released on Digital HD on July 27, 2016. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 2. Positive reception was met for Mark Hamill's performance as the Joker, with some citing it as his best performance of the character.

Hamill has been nominated for two Annie Awards for his portrayal of the character, [74] for an Interactive Achievement Award,[75] for a Spike Video Game Award,[76] and has won a British Academy Video Game Award for Best Performer.[77]

Writing[edit]

Hamill at a signing for The Black Pearl at Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan, October 1996

Hamill is the co-writer of The Black Pearl, a comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics.[78] He wrote an introduction to the Trade Paperback Batman: Riddler Two-Face which reprints various stories involving the Riddler and Two-Face to tie in with Batman Forever. He has also written several stories for Simpsons Comics, including "Catastrophe in Substitute Springfields!", which parodies DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and also references several other classic comics.[79]

Personal life[edit]

On December 17, 1978, Hamill married dental hygienist Marilou York in a private civil ceremony.[80] They have three children together: Nathan (born 1979), Griffin (born 1983), and Chelsea Elizabeth (born 1988).[81] Nathan was born during the production of The Empire Strikes Back and had a cameo appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, playing one of the Royal Guards of Naboo.

On January 11, 1977, before shooting one of his scenes in Star Wars, Hamill was in a car accident in which he fractured his nose and left cheekbone,[82] requiring seven hours of surgery. As a result, a double was used for the landspeeder pickup shots.[83] According to Hamill in a recorded interview, he was driving his BMW on a freeway, became distracted, and seeing that he was missing his offramp, attempted to negotiate four lanes of traffic. Some real scars from the crash appear on Luke's face in The Empire Strikes Back.[84][85] In an episode of children's program Ask Aspel, Hamill said that the stories surrounding his injuries had become exaggerated. Confirming that he had only broken his nose, Hamill observed that "over the years it's [been] built up into having my face reconstructed with plastic surgery."[86]

Hamill is an outspoken member of the Democratic Party. Prior to the 2012 election for President of the United States, Hamill referred to Mitt Romney as a "snake oil salesman".[87] In 2016, he endorsed P.G. Sittenfeld's candidacy in the 2016 election for the United States Senate.[88]

Hamill is a lifelong fan of Laurel and Hardy and in June 2016 he called in to The Ross Owen Show on Black Sky Radio to talk for over an hour about his passion for Stan and Ollie.[89]

Filmography[edit]

Comics[edit]

Year Title Notes
1996–97 The Black Pearl Written with Eric Johnson
September 2001 Simpsons Comics: Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #7 "Catastrophe in Substitute Springfields!" written with Bongo Comics

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1978 Saturn Awards Best Actor Star Wars Nominated
1981 The Empire Strikes Back Won
1984 Return of the Jedi Won
1985 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actor in a Musical Harrigan 'N Hart Nominated
1994 Annie Awards Voice Acting in a Television Production Batman: The Animated Series Nominated
2001 Voice Acting in a Feature Production Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Nominated
2006 DVD Exclusive Awards Best Animated Character Performance[90] Won
2010 Interactive Achievement Awards Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance Batman: Arkham Asylum Won
2012 Spike Video Game Awards Best Performance by a Human Male Batman: Arkham City Nominated
2012 British Academy Games Awards Best Performer Won
2014 Annie Awards Voice Acting in a Television Production Regular Show Nominated
2015 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Star Wars: The Clone Wars Nominated
2015 The Game Awards Best Performance Batman: Arkham Knight Nominated
2016 British Academy Games Awards Best Performer Nominated
2016 NAVGTR Awards Performance in a Drama, Supporting Won

References[edit]

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