A veteran bit-player from film and TV has passed away. Alan Harris, whose career spans The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Who and two separate Star Wars trilogies, died at the age of 81. The news was reported by the Imperial Signings Facebook page, though no specifics were given.
While Harris had an established career as both a model and stage actor, he ended up being drawn toward cinema, even though he rarely played a prominent role.
He first started appearing on the big screen in the early 1960s, playing party guests, cruise passengers, and on more than one occasion, a German soldier. By the late 60s, he'd become a recurring player on the British TV series The Avengers in a number of different roles. Though his career didn't really take off until the 70s.
At the beginning of the decade, Harris landed the role of a prison guard in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. By the mid-70s, he picked up a number of different roles in the sci-fi series Space:1999, and not long after, he proceeded to do the same thing for a little movie called Star Wars. For George Lucas' soon-to-be blockbuster, Harris played both a member of Princess Leia's royal escort as well as an Imperial Stormtrooper.
He'd also have a number of roles The Empire Strikes Back, even though only one was on-screen. He's credited for his role as the bounty hunter Bossk, but he was the mold for Boba Fett's costume and Han Solo's frozen carbonite body as well. For Return of the Jedi, he reprised his role as a Stormtrooper and also worked as Anthony Daniel's C-3PO stand-in. He also returned to the franchise in 1999's The Phantom Menace as a stand-in for actor Terence Stamp.
In addition to Star Wars, Harris had bit parts in Richard Donner's Superman, Flash Gordon and The Shining, where he appeared as a ballroom dancer. From the late 70s into the late 80s, he had multiple appearances as different characters in The BBC's long-running Doctor Who.
His last role was as a cop in the crime dramedy series Minder back in 1989. In the years since, he became an active presence on the convention circuit, regaling fans with his numerous stories behind-the-scenes.
"I have no regrets whatsoever at leaving my modeling and theatre career behind," the actor said in a 2014 interview. "I have enjoyed my film extra and stand-in career immensely. I feel lucky to have had a successful career, particularly through the 1970s and 1980s."