It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Gary Friedkin, best known for his role as the Ewok Paploo in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Friedkin, who was 70 years old, passed away after a battle with COVID-19.
Friedkin was born in Los Angeles in 1950 and began his acting career in the early 1970s with appearances on popular TV shows such as Happy Days and The Six Million Dollar Man. He also had small roles in films such as The Blues Brothers and The Blues Brothers 2000.
However, it was his role as Paploo in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that solidified his place in pop culture history. Paploo was a member of the Ewok tribe on the forest moon of Endor and played a crucial role in the Rebel Alliance’s victory over the Galactic Empire.
In an interview with StarWars.com in 2018, Friedkin recalled his experience on the set of Return of the Jedi and how much fun he had working with the other Ewok actors. “We were like a little family,” he said. “We spent so much time together, especially during the night shoots, that we became very close.”
Friedkin’s work as Paploo was not limited to the big screen. He also provided the voice for the character in the Ewoks animated series and various Star Wars video games.
Friedkin continued to act throughout the years, appearing in various TV shows and movies, including a role as a security guard in the hit show Friends.
Friedkin is survived by his wife and three children. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. May the force be with him.