It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Erik Bauersfeld died on April 4th 2016 at his home in Berkeley, California, his manager told the Associated Press.
Bauersfeld served as the Director of KPFA’s drama and literature department for 31 years. Outside of radio, he dabbled in voice-over work in films and video games.
Bauersfeld was working at Lucasfilm on a radio project with sound designer Randy Thom, when he was approached by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt asked him to read for the part of Ackbar. According to Bauersfeld, he was shown a picture of Ackbar and instantly came up with the character’s voice. Ackbar’s lines only took an hour for Bauersfeld to record. He then spent an additional 30 minutes reading for the voice of Bib Fortuna, who was Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo. Both of his vocal parts were added to the finished production of Return of the Jedi, but Bauersfeld received no screen credit at the time.
He was also the last person to read for the part of Yoda, a role that eventually went to puppeteer Frank Oz