LOS ANGELES: Star Wars legend Mark Hamill was immortalised on Hollywood’s iconic Walk of Fame in front of scores of fans, some of whom had waited hours to glimpse the actor.
The 66-year-old Californian has appeared in some 70 movies which were nothing to do with Lucasfilm’s space opera, not to mention almost 200 TV shows, but will always be thought of as ingenue farm boy turned pan-galactic lightsaber-wielding hero Luke Skywalker.
“You are with me through thick and thin and the highs and the lows and everywhere in between,” Hamill told the cheering crowd as he collected his star.
“If it weren’t for the public, I’d be nowhere. From ‘Jedi’ to ‘Joker’ and back again, it’s been a fantastic ride. Thank you so much, and may the force be with each and every one of you.”
Hamill, who lends his voice to the villainous Joker in animated Batman and Justice League shows, punctuated his comments with a cackling Joker laugh.
He paid tribute to his fans after the ceremony, telling AFP he would never get used to the acclaim, nor take it for granted.
“They are the most passionate, loyal people. They are with you in career highs and career lows,” he said.
Harrison Ford, who portrayed fugitive smuggler and all-round charmer Han Solo in four Star Wars films, was among those on hand to pay tribute to Hamill, along with Star Wars creator George Lucas.
“Mark is a friend that I don’t see very often. Our lives have diverged to a certain extent but I am very pleased for him. He has been the master of his own experience, his own life,” Ford said.
“And he is as he always was, a quiet, sincere, honest person. He’s not a grandstander and I think he has found comfort and utility and control of his destiny, and I’m happy for you pal.”
As he accepted his star, Hamill told the crowd he was struggling to convey the depth of his gratitude.
“I haven’t been this speechless since ‘Force Awakens,'” he joked in a nod to the first episode of the sequel trilogy in which he briefly appeared but said nothing.
Hamill also hailed Lucas, noting if it “weren’t for the genius of George Lucas, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
He said he knew while working with Ford that he was in the “presence of greatness” and that Ford was “one of the best actors in film history.”
“He also gave me the great advice: ‘Hey kid, don’t get cocky,'” he added.
Star Wars (1977) was Hamill’s first feature film. He was discovered in a workshop musical comedy called “Anthems in E-Flat Calliope” the summer before starting college in Los Angeles.
Now a prolific voice artist in animated series and video games, Hamill started out on TV in a 1970 episode of the short-lived CBS comedy-drama Headmaster.
He followed this with parts in The Partridge Family, Night Gallery, Cannon, The Bill Cosby Show, Room 222 and Lucas Tanner.
It hasn’t been all plain-sailing, Hamill was a cast member of the comedy The Texas Wheelers, which was dropped from ABC’s schedule after four episodes in 1974.
His other film credits include Corvette Summer, Slipstream, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Brigsby Bear and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Skywalker’s fate in the latest Star Wars episode, The Last Jedi, left the question of his return for the final part of the sequel trilogy, due to begin shooting in July for a December 2019 release, somewhat up in the air.
“You know I had a beginning, a middle and an end, so whether I’m not involved or just a member of the audience, I’m looking forward to it,” he told AFP.