Mark Hamill biography
Date of Birth: September 25, 1951
Mark Hamill was born in Oakland, California, the fourth of seven children. His father was a captain in the United States Navy and, as a result, his family moved around a lot while he was growing up. They lived for various lengths of time in California, New York, Virginia, and even Japan. After he graduated from high school overseas, his family moved back to California and Hamill continued his education, studying drama at the Los Angeles City College.
In 1970, Hamill made his television debut on The Bill Cosby Show, followed by a guest appearance in 1971 on The Partridge Family. By 1974, he was cast in a starring role on the television series The Texas Wheelers. The series was short-lived, but he soon landed another starring role, this time in the pilot/debut episode of the drama series Eight is Enough as the oldest son, David. Before the show was picked up as a series, he auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker in the first Stars Wars movie and when he was cast, a replacement had to be found for the TV series. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was released in 1977 and although Mark was a known actor due to his television work, the film launched him into the A-list category of celebrity fame.
Mark's adventures as Luke Skywalker hit an early road bump. In December 1976, several months after filming was completed on the first Star Wars movie, he fractured his nose and left cheek in a serious car crash and had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery. Mark’s scars were integrated into the script for the second film, in which Luke Skywalker is attacked by a Wampa, thus explaining the difference in his appearance. Mark reprised the role in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in 1983. He continued to do most of his own stunt work despite the crash and won Best Actor Saturn Awards for his work in both of the sequels.
Although Stars Wars brought Mark great fame, it also trapped him in a corner. The public was so used to seeing him as Luke Skywalker that it was difficult for him to break away from the character. He took roles in standalone movies like Corvette Summer, The Big Red One and Brittania Hospital in an effort to prove his acting versatility to fans and critics alike. After the Stars Wars trilogy was done, Hamill attempted to further distance himself from his lightsaber-wielding character by disappearing from Hollywood for a time. He took on parts in numerous Broadway plays, such as Amadeus and The Elephant Man and tried to return to the big screen in the late '80s without much success.
In the ‘90s, Mark appeared in numerous low-budget films but mainly concentrated his energy on what is now the bread and butter of his career: voice acting. His most famous role is that of the Joker in the Warner Bros. cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), a part he was offered after Tim Curry dropped out of the project. The role garnered him an Annie Award nomination for the television series in 1994 and for the cartoon movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in 2001. He has since voiced the character in at least seven cartoon series and for numerous video games, including the popular titles Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. His version of the Joker has yet to be eclipsed by another voice actor and is arguably the most influential portrayal of the character ever.
Mark’s acclaimed work on the Batman cartoon has made him one of the most sought-after voice actors in the industry. He has since leant his vocal talents to hundreds of cartoons and video games. He voiced the Hobgoblin in the ‘90s Spider-Man cartoon, Buzz Buzzard in The New Woody Woodpecker Show, Firelord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Gargoyle in The Incredible Hulk and Stickybeard in Codename: Kids Next Door. He has also been a frequent contributor to the hit show Robot Chicken. His latest character voice in a cartoon series is that of Abraham Kane in Motorcity.
Although Mark tried for decades to separate himself from the role of Luke Skywalker, he, along with co-stars Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, agreed to star in the next sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens , which was announced in 2013. Hamill has also co-written a comic book miniseries, The Black Pearl, and he directed his first movie, Comic Book: The Movie, in 2004. His personal life has been fairly stable over the years; he married his formal dental hygienist, Marilou York, in 1978. They have three children, Nathan, Griffin, and Chelsea, and are still together today.