Michael Culver dead: Star Wars actor 'Captain Needa' dies aged 85 after 'long illness'

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Star Wars actor Michael Culver has died aged 85

Star Wars actor Michael Culver has died aged 85 after 'a long illness'. London-born Michael, who played Captain Needa in the 1980's Empire Strikes Back, died on February 27, his agent confirmed.

In a statement to the Irish Sun, his agent said: "We are very sad to confirm the passing of our friend and client Michael Culver. A career spanning over 50 years with notable roles in Sherlock Holmes, A Passage to India, Secret Army and of course one of the most memorable death scenes in the Star Wars franchise.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Michael largely gave up acting in the early 2000's to concentrate his efforts into his political activism. It's been an honor to have represented Michael for for the last decade and to have taken him to some of the best Star Wars events in the UK and Europe.

"A real highlight was taking Michael to Celebration in Chicago in 2019. He was lost for words when he saw his queue line with nearly 200 people waiting to see him. We worked with Michael just 3 weeks ago at his last home signing with our friends at Elite Signatures. Michael died on Tuesday 27th February at the age of 85. We miss him."

Star Wars actor Michael Culver has died aged 85Star Wars actor Michael Culver has died aged 85
Star Wars actor Michael Culver has died aged 85 | Getty Images

In The Empire Strikes Back, Michael's character Captain Needa commanded the Avenger, an Imperial Star Destroyer, in pursuit of the Millennium Falcon. Following the starship's escape, he expressed remorse to Darth Vader, who subsequently executed him.

Additionally, Michael's acting credits include his role as Major McBryde in the 1984 film, A Passage to India. He reportedly made uncredited appearances in James Bond films From Russia With Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In television, Michael is recognised for his portrayal of Major Erwin Brandt in the BBC series Secret Army from 1977 to 1978. He also had recurring roles in series such as The Adventures of Black Beauty, The House of Eliott, and Cadfael. He also appeared in shows like Space: 1999 and The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson was among who paid tribute to the actor. He wrote on X: "We're sad to learn of the passing on February 27th of actor Michael Culver, who played, among many other roles, Eagle pilot Pete Irving in the Space:1999 episode Guardian of Piri. Our thoughts go out to all who knew him."

Michael is also known for his activist work, as he was among peace campaigners demonstrating in Parliament Square against the war in Iraq in 2007.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.