About 12 years ago I met Richard LeParmentier at a dive bar in my hometown of Ypsilanti, a medium-sized town outside of Detroit. It might seem a strange place to first meet the man who was famously choked by Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars,” but I was (well, still am) good friends with his booking agent for fan conventions, and he wanted to take Richard out on the town.
Denis (his agent, my friend) introduced us and we hit it off right off the bat. He was very down-to-earth and more than willing to talk with me about film making and even about possibly being in one of my movies — very cool considering how relatively inexperienced I was in the business at the time.
Mostly he seemed to just enjoy hanging out with people who didn’t care what movies he had been in so much as how well he could play pool. I was pretty good at the time — and so was Richard — and we each had a grand time drinking beer and talking smack about pool. won the drinking contest; he won the pool games — it was a fine trade off.
We ending up hanging out quite a bit for that week (he was staying in town between conventions), playing pool and generally enjoying the fine summer weather. It was always neat to see the reaction on peoples faces when they realized they had a minor celebrity amongst them. Richard was all too happy to have a beer and share his many stories with average Joes.
When I saw Richard last year at the Detroit Fanfare Comic Convention, he seemed as friendly as ever and despite having literally hundreds of fans wanting to spend time with him, and was willing to hang out with me. We couldn’t play pool (no tables in the hotel), but we once again had a few pints and traded war stories. He remained as classy as ever, both to his friends, and to his fans.
He will be sorely missed.