Peter Sumner, 1942-2016

peter-sumner-star-wars

Star Wars actor Peter Sumner, who played a minor, but memorable character only Star Wars nerds like myself would know, has passed away.

Peter Sumner, an Australian actor, director and writer best known stateside for his appearance as Lt. Pol Treidum, a security officer on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, died this month following a long illness. He was 74.

Although he fully expected to be remembered solely for the line “TK-421, do you copy” in the original Star Wars, Sumner had a varied career that included numerous stage performances of Shakespeare and several TV series and films.

As his wife told the Sidney Morning Herald, Sumner happened to be vacationing with his family in England when he saw the casting call for Star Wars, taking the role mainly to offset the need for money. The only Australian to appear in Star Wars, Sumner was paid £60 a day for two days of work and also had an uncredited role operating the trash compactor monster. In the film, he’s heard wondering why Stormtrooper TK-421 isn’t at his post and later is knocked out by Chewbacca.

So many of the original Star Wars actors are leaving us. Godspeed, Mr. Sumner, and thank you.

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