Mark Richard Hamill, (born September 25, 1951) is an American actor, voice artist, producer, director, and writer. Hamill is best known for his role of Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. He is also well known for voicing Batman's archenemy The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series.
Early life and education
Hamill was born in Concord, California and raised in Oakland, California, the son of Virginia Suzanne (née Johnson) and William Thomas Hamill, who was a captain in the U.S. Navy. He was one of seven children: two brothers, Will and Patrick, and four sisters, Terry, Jan, Jeanie, and Kim. As a child, his father's career meant numerous relocations, and he attended different schools throughout his childhood. In his elementary years he went to Poe Middle School, then for 10th grade, he attended Annandale High School located in Annandale, Virginia, but eventually ended up graduating from Nile C. Kinnick High School located in Yokosuka, Japan. He majored in drama at Los Angeles City College.
Hamill's early career included voicing the character Corey Anders on the Saturday morning cartoon Jeannie by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He also portrayed the oldest son David on the pilot episode of Eight Is Enough, though the role was later performed by Grant Goodeve. He acted in TV series such as The Texas Wheelers, General Hospital, and One Day At A Time. One of his earliest movies was the made-for-TV film The City.
Hamill in 1978
In 1977, Hamill starred as Luke Skywalker in George Lucas' epic space saga Star Wars. The film was an enormous and unexpected success and became revolutionary for the film industry. Hamill also appeared in The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) and later starred in the successful Star Wars sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
For his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, Hamill was twice honored with the Saturn Award for Best Actor (given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films), for his performance in both sequels.
George Lucas was rumored to have asked Hamill to reprise the role of Luke Skywalker in a Star Wars sequel trilogy as an Obi-Wan Kenobi-type character who passes the torch to the next generation of Jedi Knights. Lucas later dismissed it as nothing more than an off-hand comment.
Reprints of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces (which influenced Lucas as he was developing the films) issued after the release of Star Wars in 1977 used the image of Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the cover.
The actor reprised his role as Skywalker for the radio versions of both A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, but did not participate in the Return of the Jedi radio drama due to budgetary concerns.
On January 11, 1977, one day before he was set to shoot one of the final scenes needed for Star Wars, Hamill was in a car accident in which he fractured his nose and left cheekbone. According to Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, Hamill was in surgery from 9 AM until 4 PM. As a result of the accident, a double was used for the landspeeder pickup shots.
Live action and stage work
After the success of Star Wars, Hamill found that audiences identified him very closely with the role of Luke Skywalker. He attempted to avoid typecasting by appearing in Corvette Summer and the better-known World War II film The Big Red One. As the 1980s wore on, Hamill did little film work outside of Star Wars. Instead, he acted on Broadway, starring in Amadeus, The Elephant Man, Harrigan and Hart (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination) and other stage plays, for which he received positive reviews.
Hamill played the villainous Hawkins in the Swedish action movie Hamilton in 1998. Some of his other film credits include The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Britannia Hospital, Slipstream, The Guyver, and the 1995 remake of Village of the Damned. In 1990, he played a psychotic escaped mental patient who terrorizes Michael Dudikoff and his wife in Midnight Ride. He also narrated The Sci-Fi Files, a four-part documentary about the influence of science fiction upon present society. In 2001, Hamill starred in the feature film Thank You, Good Night alongside Christian Campbell, J.P. Pitoc, and Sally Kirkland.
In live-action television, Hamill had recurring roles in General Hospital and The Texas Wheelers (both pre-Star Wars), and he appeared as The Trickster in the live-action television series of The Flash, a role he would later reprise in the animated series Justice League Unlimited. He has made cameo appearances on MADtv (where he played the estranged father of Ms. Swan), and appeared on Saturday Night Live (playing himself being sold on a Star Wars themed home shopping sale).Hamill appeared on an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, playing Luke Skywalker during one of the scenes. He appeared on an episode of Just Shoot Me! He also had a guest spot on The Muppet Show as both himself and his "cousin" Luke Skywalker, along with C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2. In 1986, he appeared in an episode of the TV series The Amazing Stories ("Gather Ye Acorns") in the role of Jonathan, who is advised by "Mother Nature's only son" to not discard his childhood belongings, which causes him trouble during his adult life. As he grows older, he is able to auction off his belongings as memorabilia, becoming wealthy in the process. He also had a recurring role as Tobias LeConte on seaQuest DSV.
Hamill appeared as Cock-Knocker in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He also parodies Luke Skywalker in a "bong saber" duel with Jay and Silent Bob in which he says, "Don't f*** with the Jedi Master, son." When his large, fake right hand prop is cut off in the film's duel, he sighs, looks at the camera and says, "Not again." This was the first time that Hamill and his Star Wars co-star Carrie Fisher appeared in a film together since Return of the Jedi, although they share no scenes. He also provides the voice of Scooby-Doo in the scene which parodies the animated show, where Scooby says "Hi, Ray and Rirent Rob".
Hamill also directed and starred in the 2004 direct-to-DVD Comic Book: The Movie. A comic book fan who attended sci-fi and comic conventions before he became famous, Hamill claimed that his character was based on an exaggerated version of himself. He and his crew shot most of the "mockumentary" film during the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, and enlisted even Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and Hugh Hefner in small roles. The movie won an award for Best Live-Action DVD Premiere Movie at the 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards.
Mark Hamill did voice acting work in the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards, where he played "Sean, leader of the Knights of Stardust". The film was released on the same weekend as Star Wars, and thus may have been somewhat overshadowed.
Mark Hamill has gained a reputation as a prolific voice actor, beginning with his acclaimed role as the Joker in the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), as well as most of the other spin-off series, video games and films. Hamill had initially played a guest voice-role as evil businessman Ferris Boyle in the episode "Heart of Ice", and was delighted when offered the role of the Joker, one of his favorite characters. The most prominent feature of his portrayal that has garnered such acclaim is his dynamic use of laughter to express the Joker's feelings. Hamill referred to the Joker's laugh as being like a musical instrument and would practice laughing maniacally while driving to recording sessions, commenting that no one found this behavior strange in Los Angeles.
Hamill has appeared as the Joker in 15 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, three episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, five episodes of The New Batman Adventures, four episodes of Justice League, and an episode of Static Shock. He also played the Joker in the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and the direct-to-video film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000).
The short-lived WB live action series, Birds of Prey, based on the comic book of the same title, featured a flashback sequence in which the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and paralyzes her. This sequence featured Hamill voicing the Joker, dubbed over an actor whose facial structure more resembled the character. The actor's face was shot in the background so as to be slightly blurred. Hamill also voiced the Joker alongside his Batman: The Animated Series co-star Kevin Conroy as Batman and Jason Hillhouse as Dick Grayson in a feature of a storyboard scene included in the 2005 Special Edition DVD of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. This scene depicted the origin of Robin, which wasn't filmed because the producers felt it was out of place with the rest of the movie.
Hamill also provided voice-acting for villains Solomon Grundy and the Trickster in the DC animated universe series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Hamill has since voiced villain Tony Zucco in The Batman, a more recent animated series which is unrelated to the various DCAU series. He will also soon voice another DC hero, the Spectre, in an upcoming episode of the currently running Batman cartoon, The Brave and the Bold.
Hamill did the voice of Lawrance "Larry" 3000 a robot from Cartoon Network's animated series Time Squad.
He also guest starred in The Simpsons episode "Mayored to the Mob". On the audio commentary of the episode he says that he's been a fan of the show since its first hour and that it was a personal thrill to work with Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson and others.
His success as The Joker has led to other villain roles in other animated series, including the Gargoyle in the animated series of The Incredible Hulk, the Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Maximus in Fantastic Four, Captain Stickybeard in Codename: Kids Next Door, and the deranged shock jock Dr. Jak in Phantom 2040. He even parodied his Joker role in the Tom & Jerry Kids episode "Droopy Man Returns," and in the Animaniacs episode "The Cranial Crusader", as Johnny Bad-Note. He voiced Py-Ro in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Dr. Julius Pendecker in The Tick, and Niju the Evil Wolf in Balto II: Wolf Quest. He also voiced Christopher "Maverick" Blair in the animated series Wing Commander Academy.
He also guest starred in two episodes of The Flash as The Trickster. In 1999 he provided the voice of Van Ripper in The Night of the Headless Horseman. He voiced the character of Chanukah Zombie for the 2007 straight-to-DVD release Futurama: Bender's Big Score.
Hamill performs the voice of the villain Undergrowth in the Danny Phantom episode "Urban Jungle." More recently, he provided the voice of Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Skeleton King in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!. He also guest starred as The Moth in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode: Night Light. He even played the latter character in the Mina and the Count shorts.
In the Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Hamill voiced Jonny K., the Red Lynx, and Burke , among others.
He is also a recurring voice actor on Seth Green's Robot Chicken. Adult Swim listed Hamill as one of the channel's best Voice Actors.
In April 2009, he had a voice cameo in the NASA animated short "Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity and the Great Attractor," part of the web-series IRrelevant Astronomy produced by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
He is currently doing voicework for several characters in the Metalocalypse animated series on Adult Swim. He also voices Frank the Director in Random! Cartoons on Frederator Studios.
He voiced Colonel Muska in the English language version of Castle in the Sky and the Mayor of Pejite in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both directed by Hayao Miyazaki and distributed by Disney. Hamill provided the voice of Commander Taylor in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, the sequel to the 1980s adapted anime series Robotech. He was also in Afro Samurai Resurrection.
Hamill provides the voice of Jameson Burkright in the mini-series comedy The Wrong Coast, and Yamma in the joint Cartoon Network/Production I.G anime series IGPX Immortal Grand Prix. In early 2010, Mark Hamill voiced as Dante's father in the anime film of Dante's Inferno (video game).
Hamill's roles in television animation led to his recruitment as a voice actor for a number of video games, most often as the antagonist, likely because of his success as the Joker.
When the Wing Commander series of computer games started using full motion video cut scenes, Hamill was cast as the series protagonist, Colonel Christopher Blair, a role he played in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (1994), Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1995), and Wing Commander: Prophecy (1997). (In the 1999 Wing Commander film, set earlier in the series, the character was played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) He did however, have a cameo, as did many of the other actors who did voiceovers for the game. Hamill was also cast as the voice of Christopher Blair in the animated television series Wing Commander Academy.
Other notable computer-game roles (voice only) include Detective Mosely in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, Assistant Director Wilson in Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, several characters in the LucasArts game Full Throttle (including the game's main villain, Adrian Ripburger), and Wolverine in X-Men 2: Wolverine's Revenge, the tie-in game to the movie X-Men 2. Hamill also provided the voice for two of the primary characters of Starsiege, one of them a young warrior leading a rebellion against an empire.
He portrayed the Joker in a few Batman-themed video games, notably Batman Vengeance, the Sega CD version of The Adventures of Batman & Robin, and in Batman: Arkham Asylum. It is important to note that while some have mistakenly suspected that he reprised his role as Luke Skywalker for LucasArts' Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the character is in fact voiced by Bob Bergen (also the voice of Porky Pig and a host of others). Hamill provided voices for The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian. He also played the role of Emperor Griffon in the PlayStation 2 role-playing game Dark Cloud 2 as well as Colonel Kroitz in Grandia Xtreme.
He narrated a documentary on the United States' 1st Infantry Division. Footage from the documentary was used in the video game Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. He has appeared in two installments in the Crash Bandicoot series: in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex as Py-Ro the Fire Elemental, and in Crash: Mind over Mutant as the Znu.
Mark Hamill did voiceover work for the PlayStation 2 game, Yakuza, where he plays Goro Majima, a crazed and ruthless lieutenant of a Yakuza family. He is also the voice of Malefor the Dark Master in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. Most recently, Hamill played as The Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum, the latest video game adaptation of the Batman franchise. Hamill will again reprise his role of The Joker in Arkham Asylum's sequel. He also lent his voice talents to Darksiders, as The Watcher, whose voice is very similar to that of The Joker.
Hamill's likeness is also used as an alternative character model in the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The PlayStation 2 and Wii editions features both "Episode IV" and "Episode VI" models.
Hamill is currently slated to voice act for the upcoming PlayStation Portable title, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, although his character has yet to be confirmed.
Hamill voiced the character of Todd Wainio in World War Z, a critically acclaimed audiobook based on Max Brooks' successful imitation of Studs Terkel's "The Good War", relating the stories of survivors from the first global zombie war.
He also provided the entire cast of voices for a 1983 Pinocchio audiobook (with unique characteristics for each). Hamill also reads life into the characters of the popular juvenile fiction book series, The Spiderwick Chronicles Volumes I-III, by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.
Mark Hamill is credited as the narrator in "Ancient Voices", a 1999 series of documentaries on archeology and ancient history produced by as a BBC/The Learning Channel co-production, and published by Time-Life as a DVD series.
Mark Hamill is the co-writer of The Black Pearl, a comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics. He wrote an introduction to the Trade Paperback Batman: Riddler Two-Face which reprints various stories involving The Riddler and Two-Face to tie in with Batman Forever. He has also written several stories for Simpsons Comics, including "Catastrophe in Substitute Springfields!" which parodies DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and also references several other classic comics.
In 1978, he married dental hygienist Marilou York. They have three children together: Nathan, Griffin and Chelsea. His son Nathan had a cameo role in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) playing one of the Royal Guards of Naboo.