Richard LeParmentier, an American-born film and TV actor who spent most of his career working in England, has died at the age of 66. LeParmentier was best remembered for playing Admiral Motti, the Imperial head of Naval operations in Star Wars (1977) who has the arrogance to insult Darth Vader’s “sorcerer’s ways,” thus becoming the first character to give Vader reason to demonstrate his party trick of strangling someone from the other side of the room. Some actors achieve cinematic immortality by getting to deliver a single line; LeParmentier achieved it by being on the receiving end of one: “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” spoken by Vader to Motti as the latter clutches his throat and turns blue. Ultimately, Vader relents and lets him live to the end of the movie, where he learns that his hubris regarding the invincibility of the Death Star he co-commands is similarly flawed.
LeParmentier made his movie debut in the 1974 rock picture Stardust, going on to other small roles in Rollerball (1975), Ken Russell’s Valentino (1977), Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981), the James Bond film Octopussy (1983), the TV miniseries Reilly: Ace Of Spies (1983), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). He appeared in The People That Time Forgot (1977) and Superman II (1981), both of which co-starred Sarah Douglas, to whom he was married from 1981 to 1984. LeParmentier also doubled as a writer for such TV series as The Bill and Boon. He retired from the screen after 1992, but lent his voice to the Soldiers: Heroes Of World War II video game in 2004.