Many actors become so connected to a particular role that audiences and casting directors have trouble seeing them, in other roles. Mark Hamill who turned 66 today, is such an actor. To some people he’ll always be Luke Skywalker. the young moisture farmer from Tatooine who wanted nothing more than to leave and become a space pilot. To others, especially animation fans, he surpasses Cesar Romero as THE Joker.
Hamill’s first screen credit was for the role of Kent Murray in General Hospital in 1972. Since then he’s had more than 326 acting credits, as everything from the voice of Corey Anders in the animated Jeannie (the animated I Dream of Jeannie), to the Trickster in the live-action Flash TV series, a leading role in the Wing Commander games as Christopher ‘Maverick’ Blair, and even Avatar: The Last Airbender as the voice of Firelord Kozai. Name an animated show or series you remember fondly, and chances are good he was in it.
Why is Mark Hamill’s birthday important to anyone other than him and his family? Because if Luke Skywalker is no longer a twenty-year-old Jedi apprentice, then we who grew up with Star Wars are no longer twenty. either. Our heroes are middle-aged and so are we. As we celebrate Mark Hamill’s birthday we acknowledge his and our own mortality.