- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy birthday, Mark Hamill. The American actor best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” trilogy celebrates his 60th birthday on Sept. 25. The List this week takes a second look at Mr. Hamill.

  • On being in Star Wars — “Whenever someone asks me what it was like to be in ‘Star Wars,’ Mr. Hamill told the Baltimore Sun, “I think of George Harrison. Because whenever anyone asked him what it was like to be a Beatle, he responded, ‘What was it like not to be a Beatle?’
  • The crash — Before shooting the final scenes of “Star Wars” in 1977, Mr. Hamill was in a car crash. He required reconstructive facial surgery for a fractured nose and left cheekbone. A double had to be used for some shots in the film.
  • B movies — While Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher emerged from the “Star Wars” trilogy and thrived, Mr. Hamill struggled, finding roles in mostly B-matter movies, such as “Corvette Summer,” “Time Runner” and “Black Magic Woman.” Anyone remember “Village of the Damned”?
  • Voice-over masterMr. Hamill has a reputation for being a prolific voice actor. In the past 20 years, he has done voice work for hundreds of cartoons, working on TV series such as “Batman,” “Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron,” The Incredible Hulk” and, recently, “Robot Chicken.” He also has been the voice for many video games, notably the “Wing Commander” series and “Avatar: The Last Airbender — Into the Inferno.” “It doesn’t pay a lot, but it’s fast, it’s easy, and you don’t have to look the part,” Mr. Hamill said about being a voice actor.
  • The laugh Mark Hamill’s voice-over of the Joker in “Batman: The Animated Series” from 1992 to 1995 is brilliant. No one can perform the Joker’s taunting and hysterical laugh quite like Mr Hamill.
  • Famous quote — Obi-Wan Kenobi’s immortal advice to Luke Skywalker: “May the force be with you,” was chosen as the favorite movie quote of all time, according to a nationwide AOL poll with more than 100,000 responses in 2006. The quote came in at No. 8 on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotations in American cinema in 2005.
  • Box-office kingMr. Hamill’s films have grossed $1.3 billion in the U.S. and $2.2 billion worldwide, according to the website the-numbers.com.
  • 1970s money manMr. Hamill comes in 11th on the “1970 Top 100 Stars at the Box Office” list. The films in which he starred earned $476,498,007 at the box office in the 1970s. His co-star in “Star Wars,” Harrison Ford, is No. 1, earning $722,418,007.
  • On Broadway — Following the “Star Wars” films, Mr. Hamill headed for Broadway, where he starred in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” “The Nerd,” “Harrigan ‘n Hart,” and “Amadeus.” He won major acclaim for his role as the deformed man, Joseph Merrick, in the “The Elephant Man.”
  • Dental loveMr. Hamill married his former dental hygienist, Marilou York. They have been married 33 years and raised three children.
  • After Star Wars Mr. Hamill’s most noted film after the “Star Wars” movies was the “The Big Red One,” a World War II war film starring Lee Marvin. Mr. Hamill played Pvt. Griff, a skilled marksman.
  • Comics — Along with his cousin Eric Johnson, Mr. Hamill is co-writer of the five-part comic book the Black Pearl, about a troubled man who becomes a costumed vigilante “hero” because of media pressure. The comic was published by Dark Horse Comics. Last year, Mr. Hamill announced that he had secured the funding to make a movie based on the comic book, which he would direct.
  • Hamill and Hanks — Both Mark Hamill and Tom Hanks were born in Concord, Calif., 31 miles east of San Francisco. Mr. Hamill attended Los Angeles City College, whose alumni include fellow silver-screen stars Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Donna Reed and Robert Vaughn; the composer John Williams; and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
  • Latest projectMr. Hamill’s latest film, which is still in post-production, is “Airborne,” a horror thriller set aboard a flight from London to New York. “It’s a little violent for my taste — I’m not a great slasher-movie fan,” Hamill said of the film.
  • Quotable — “Acting in “Star Wars” I felt like a raisin in a giant fruit salad, and I didn’t even know who the cantaloupes were.”

Compiled by John Haydon

Sources: Associated Press, www.the-numbers.com, The Houston Chronicle, boxofficemojo.com, Leicester Mercury, Wikipedia and The Dallas Morning News.