'Star Wars' actor Andrew Jack dies from COVID-19

English actor and dialect coach Andrew Jack died on Tuesday as a result of complications of COVID-19. He was 76.

The entertainer is most recognized onscreen for his portrayal of Maj.-Gen. Ematt in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015) and its direct sequel, Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (2017).

In addition to his appearances in the Disney franchise, Jack lived a storied life as a professional dialect coach. In his four-decade-long film career, he worked with more than 200 actors on more than 100 films, including Marvel‘s The Avengers series, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Jack’s death was confirmed by his longtime agent Jill McCullough in a statement, according to CNN. She revealed the actor had fallen ill with the novel coronavirus disease and passed in a Surrey, England hospital on March 31.

“Andrew lived on one of the oldest working houseboats on the Thames,” said McCullough. “He was fiercely independent but madly in love with his wife, also a dialect coach, Gabrielle Rogers.

“Tragically, she is stuck in quarantine in Australia, having just flown in from New Zealand last week. She was unable to see or talk to him at the end of his life, and there is a chance a funeral may not be held,” the statement continued.


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“He was still working full pelt, currently coaching on the new Batman,” McCullough said, noting the upcoming 2021 Batman film starring Robert Pattinson. “Dialect coaching isn’t just about being good at accents you need to make your actors feel safe and confident and Andrew’s actors adored him.”

In the wake of her husband’s death, Rogers herself took to Twitter confirming the news.

“We lost a man today,” she wrote. “Andrew Jack was diagnosed with coronavirus two days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.”

 

She gave a shoutout to some of Jack’s biggest clients — Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth among them.


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An outpouring of tribute messages ensued on Tuesday after new of Jack’s death spread.

Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings films, was one of the first, noting Jack was “funny, brilliant, powerful and gentle in equal measure” and could also make “a mean curry.”

Here are what some others had to say about Andrew Jack after working with him:

A-list actor Ian McKellen, who worked with Jack when he played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, shared the news of Jack’s passing in a tweet.

Jack also worked with American actor Tessa Thompson and voiced an alien named Moloch in Ron Howard‘s Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).

He was born in London, England on Jan. 28, 1944 and is survived by his wife Rogers and two children from a previous marriage.


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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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