His part in Star Wars may have been small, but Erik Bauersfeld uttered one of the most oft-quoted lines in movie history, “It’s a trap!” as the voice of Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. The 93-year-old voice actor and radio dramatist died on Sunday.
Bauersfeld worked primarily in public radio beginning in the 1960s. After being recruited by Star Wars‘ Oscar-winning sound designer Randy Thom to help with Star Wars, he auditioned for the voice of Yoda. He was a finalist for the part, though the job went to Jim Henson disciple (and voice of Miss Piggy) Frank Oz. But Bauersfeld did win the parts of both Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hut’s frog-like associate.
“It’s a trap” has gained particular notoriety in the age of the Internet meme. Jon Stewart even deployed the line on The Daily Show in a conversation about Republicans’ refusal to meet with Obama about Obamacare.