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Long-time “Star Wars” actor “forced” to retire with stroke

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Last year prolific voice actor Tom Kane suffered a stroke. Kane was known for his roles in a wide range of media, including 1997 Spider Man animated series, Super girls, Archer, and a wide assortment of Star wars entertainment, including appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and more recently, Star Wars: The Wrong Lot.

Tom kane
Credit: tomkane.com

Kane, a critically acclaimed voice actor, has been featured in a wide assortment of projects dating back to the 1990s. Arguably, best known for his work with Lucasfilm and Star wars, Kane has voiced other non-animated projects as well, such as providing the voice of the show’s narrator for Walt Disney World’s spectacular Happily Ever After nighttime fireworks display.

For Star wars, Kane voiced, among others, Jedi Master Yoda and Admiral Yularen, as well as narrator, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and its subsequent popular animated series. The voice actor went on to portray the character of Yoda – which Frank Oz made famous in the Star wars original trilogy – in other projects like LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales, and Star Wars Forces of Destiny.

Yoda in
Credit: Lucasfilm

Kane entered the Star wars Live-action Skywalker Saga in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), although uncredited, and the follow-up standalone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), before singing Admiral Ackbar in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. The iconic voice actor also provided additional voices in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and the conclusion of the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Admiral Ackbar with Poe Dameron
Credit: Lucasfilm

With numerous film, television and video game credits under his belt, Kane continued to voice fan favorite characters until a stroke late last year forced him to break up. with voiceover work. Part of this original statement from Kane’s family bed:

[Kane] had a stroke on his left side which left him with weakness on the right side and damage to the speech center of his brain. This means that at this moment he cannot communicate effectively verbally, nor read or spell.

Yoda in
Credit: Lucasfilm

And now her daughter has announced that Kane will be retiring from her job. Her daughter, Sam, took to Facebook to post the lengthy statement regarding her father:

Because of this stroke, my father was forced into early retirement. The damage to its speech center is just too severe. He can’t read or pronounce the words he wants well, which is kind of required for the dubbing. He has what’s called apraxia, which means he has trouble switching easily from one sound, syllable, or word to another. Groping movements such as with his jaw, lips or tongue to effect the correct movement of speech sounds are impaired.

Admiral Ackbar with control room in the background
Credit: Lucasfilm

The statement goes on to say:

Basically he knows exactly what he means, he knows exactly what’s going on, but the words are trapped in his head, and when they come out it’s usually too hard to understand. He has a handful of words that he says perfectly, but just a handful. It now relies on all forms of non-verbal communication. Thank goodness he’s an actor and excellent in charades.

Kane’s daughter goes on to say how sad it is that “in a fraction of a second, one of the most talented voice actors ever lost his voice and his career.” You can read the full statement here.

bad lot episode 8 arrival cross
Credit: Lucasfilm

Kane’s last TV credit was the narrator of Dave Filoni’s film The bad lot who saw Kane recount the opening segment of his first episode on Star wars Day (May 4) titled “Aftermath”. The episode, of course, provided the transition from The clone wars era at this new frontier in Star wars narration.

What was your favorite Tom Kane performance? Let us know in the comments!

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