The prolific voice actor Tom Kane suffered a stroke last year. Kane was known for his roles across a wide range of media including 1997’s Spider-Man animated series, The Powerpuff Girls, Archer, and a huge assortment of Star Wars entertainment including appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (2017), and most recently, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

Credit: tomkane.com

Kane is a voice actor who has received critical acclaim. He has been part of a wide range of projects since the 1990s. Arguably, most well-known for his work with Lucasfilm and Star Wars, Kane also voiced other non-animated projects like providing the voice of the show’s narrator for Walt Disney World’s Happily Ever After nighttime fireworks spectacular.

Kane was the voice actor for Star Wars. He was most notably the Jedi Master Yoda, Admiral Yularen and the narrator in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), and subsequent animated series. The voice actor went on to voice the character of Yoda — whom Frank Oz made famous in the Star Wars original trilogy — in other projects like LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales, and Star Wars Forces of Destiny.

Yoda in 'The Clone Wars'Credit to Lucasfilm

Kane entered the Star Wars live-action Skywalker Saga in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015), although uncredited, and the follow-up standalone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), before going on to voice Admiral Ackbar in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. The iconic voice actor also provided additional voices in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and the sequel trilogy’s conclusion, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

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Admiral Ackbar with Poe DameronCredit to Lucasfilm

Kane had many credits in television and movies. He voiced fan-favorite characters until last year when he suffered a stroke that forced him to stop voiceover work. Part of that original statement from Kane’s family reads:

[Kane]A left side stroke caused him weakness and damage in the speech center of his brain. He is unable to communicate effectively verbally or read or spell right now.

Yoda in 'The Clone Wars'Credit to Lucasfilm

His daughter, Sam, has now announced that Kane will be retiring from his job. Sam, his daughter, posted the long statement on Facebook about her father.

My dad was forced to retire early due to the stroke. His speech center is in severe disrepair. His speech center is severely damaged. He can’t read or get the words out he wants. This is a requirement for voice acting. He has what’s called Apraxia which means he has difficulty moving smoothly from one sound, syllable or word to another. His ability to use his jaw, lips and tongue to create speech sounds is impaired.

Admiral Ackbar with control room in the backgroundCredit to Lucasfilm

The statement says:

Essentially he knows exactly what he wants to say, he knows exactly what’s going on, but the words are trapped in his head, and when they do come out, it’s usually too slurred to understand. Although he knows a few words, he only speaks a few. He is now reliant on all forms non-verbal communication. Thank god he’s an actor and great at charades.

Kane’s daughter goes on to say how sad it is that “in a split second one of the most talented voice actors ever lost his voice and career.”The complete statement can be viewed here.

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bad batch episode 8 crosshair arrivalCredit to Lucasfilm

Kane’s last television credit was as the narrator for Dave Filoni’s The Bad Batch which saw Kane narrate the opening segment from its first episode on Star Wars Day (May 4) titled, “Aftermath”. The episode marked the transition from The Clone Wars to this new frontier of Star Wars storytelling.

Which Tom Kane performance was your favorite? Leave a comment!

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