Gordon Drewe "Red Leader" Henley

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Science Fiction Star Wars Gordon Drewe "Red Leader" Henley

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    He died last year, which is really unfortunate – he might’ve gotten to see himself in Rogue One (and perhaps more importantly, he might’ve gotten to hear about how thrilled the audiences were to see him in it). He was also briefly married to Servalan – small universe. [LINK]

    Gordon “Drewe” Henley had a variety of roles in film, television and theatre including playing Red X-Wing Squadron Red Leader Garven Dreis in Episode IV: A New Hope.

    But the 75-year-old, from Axminster, Devon, died on Valentine’s Day last year at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital after choking on his lunch.

    The inquest at County Hall in Exeter, Devon, today heard Mr Henley was half way through eating his fish pie lunch when he choked and nursing staff were unable to resuscitate him.

    Senior health officer Catherine Hill who responded to the emergency call confirmed he was unresponsive and that the Heimlich maneuver had not been carried out because he was too frail.

    There’s some interesting Star Wars background I hadn’t heard before in the article:

    Mr Henley appeared in a number of film, television and theatre productions, including episodes of Z Cars, UFO, The Avengers and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and a three-week run of Henry V in 1968 in which he played the lead role.

    He is best known for his role as X-Wing pilot “Red Leader” (Garven Dreis) in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a role for which he was mistakenly credited as “Drewe Hemley”.

    Mr Henley used an American accent for the part and unlike many of the actors in A New Hope, Henley’s performance was not dubbed in post-production.

    He interpreted his character as an experienced battle veteran and so opted to play him without any excitement in his voice.

    Director George Lucas disagreed with this so they compromised so that Red Leader would at first be formal but as the battle progressed become more excited.

    The performance was Henley’s final one on film, as he was diagnosed with manic depression shortly after completing his part and he retired from acting.

    He was married to the actress Jacqueline Pearce for three and a half years from 1963 until they divorced.

    He then married the actress Felicity Kendal in 1968 and they had one son, Charley, a special effects technician. They divorced in 1979.

    What a terrible way to go for someone who’d had enough of a struggle already.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    And married to Felicity Kendall. The man knew how to pick ’em.

    Fish pie? I have to Google that now, that just seems like a crazy typo. And sure enough, that’s an actual thing. Most of the pics look like casseroles, except for the ones with fish heads sticking out, which look like nightmares given physical form.

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