b. England 21st February, 1946
Anthony was lucky enough to have been born with a vocation. Unfortunately, it was a vocation to be an actor. But England in the 60’s was not a land where acting was considered a safe profession, so parental influence guided him to a real career – the law.
Two years of study proved Anthony didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he took a small bequest and turned it into his ticket to acting school for the next three years. He was lucky to have excellent teachers in the mime and radio departments, two fields of art that would be very useful in the future.
Leaving college in 1974, Anthony won a BBC Radio Award, which gave him a place in their Drama Company. After hundreds of productions, he left to go into theatre, shortly joining the National Theatre of Great Britain at The Young Vic. He toured abroad with them and performed in their London theatre. It was whilst playing in Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (a play about two minor characters shoved around by events much bigger than themselves), that he got the call to meet George Lucas about a sci-fi movie.
Anthony was one of hundreds invited to meet the director. Given the difficulties of the proposed costume, Lucas was interested in Anthony’s acting and mime skills. Anthony on the other hand wasn’t interested at all. Having once asked for his money back on seeing 2001 – A Space Odyssey, he had never been attracted by the world of sci-fi. He refused the interview, not wishing to waste Lucas’s time.
His older and wiser agent ensured that he did meet the director. It was a concept painting of the character that really grabbed his interest and, having read the script, he was thrilled to be given the role.
The next day he was covered in plaster to make a mould of his body, the first step in creating the now globally recognised character. Six months later the costume was almost ready and filming began.
It wasn’t an easy shoot for Anthony. The seventeen pieces of the amazing gold suit didn’t quite fit him or each other. It was cold in the desert scenes and boiling in Elstree studio during the hottest summer on record. His companion, R2D2, was silent during filming – the sounds added in post-production by Ben Burtt, so Anthony spent weeks talking to himself. Lucas later worked to replace Anthony’s vocal performance with a more American one. Eventually he found nothing fitted the original like the original and generously asked Anthony to dub his own character voice back onto the edited film.
The success of A New Hope lead to the sequels. So with some adjustments to the suit, Anthony found himself happily filming The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. His participation in The Phantom Menace was as an off-camera voice; not a satisfying method of characterisation, so he took over the arduous puppetry of the ‘naked’ C-3PO for Attack Of The Clones, once again providing live action and voice. Fully gold and shining in Episode III, The Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens (albeit with a red arm), and Rogue One, Anthony is the only actor to work on all eight Star Wars films. He is waiting to finish his part in post-production on Episode VIII.
Anthony has been involved in many of the spin-offs. Amongst other events, as the character he performed in the three radio dramatisations, tap-danced on The Muppet Show, promoted measles and polio vaccines, wrote and produced anti-smoking commercials, danced with Donny and Marie Osmond, took part in the Oscar Ceremonies, befriended Big Bird on Sesame Street filmed and voiced his animated figure as the pilot in Disney’s ride, Star Tours-The Adventures Continue, became a breakfast cereal, Kellogg’s C-3POs, and had his own cartoon series, Droids. The Clone Wars, LEGO-The Yoda Chronicles, Droid Tales and Rebels are some of the other animated series he has voiced, as well as the WAZE and TomTom GPS satnav devices.
Anthony has written extensively about his experiences especially in his ‘New Improved Wonder Column’ (See under Journalism on this site) in the original Star Wars Insider. He produced his first comic book for Dark Horse, The Protocol Offensive. His writing skills were harnessed by Hasbro Interactive for their Star Wars Monopoly.
Although the Star Wars saga has formed a major part of Anthony’s career, he has interspersed those movies with a variety of television and stage appearances. These range from situation comedies such as Square Deal and Three Up Two Down to more serious dramas such as Prime Suspect and Priestly’s Dangerous Corner.
Anthony also works as a presenter/producer of trade events and conferences. He has worked as a producer/creative designer on The Westminster Experience, The Guinness Taste Sensation, Singapore’s Volcanoland. Bahrain’s Magic Island, Dubai’s Encounter Zone and The London Dungeon.
Anthony has been proud to present the Art of Star Wars and Star Wars – Where Science Meets Imagination and The Power of Costume exhibitions in their various locations around the world. He has hosted and narrated various symphonic events, especially Star Wars In Concert in its American and European tours. He even conducted the London Symphony.
Anthony is a visiting scholar at the Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He is the proud holder of a Blue Peter Gold Badge. He lives in London, England.
Winner of the Carlton Hobbs BBC Radio Award
BBC Radio Repertory Company
The Star Wars Trilogy
The Ghosts Of Albion
The King’s Glazier
In the Pink
Turning Year Tales
3 Up Two Down
I Thought You’d Gone
Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
The Famous Five
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones
Prime Suspect IV
Prime Suspect V
The World of Eddie Weary
Randall & Hopkirk Deceased
The Making of Star Wars
The Muppet Show
The Osmond Show
The Star Wars Holiday Special!
The Science of Star Wars
She Stoops To Conquer
Much Ado About Nothing
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
PS Your Cat Is Dead
The Boy Friend
The Streets of London
City Of The Dead
Star Wars-A New Hope
I Bought A Vampire Motor Cycle
The Empire Strikes Back
Return Of The Jedi
The Phantom Menace
Attack Of The Clones
Revenge Of The Sith
The Force Awakens