The most famous faces of Star Wars are known all over the world, but the magic of such a mammoth cultural touchstone doesn't just extend to the likes of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Even boom operator Ken Nightingall, who died Tuesday at age 92, achieved some viral fame among Star Wars fans thanks to photos of him working on the set of the original 1977 movie wearing nothing but pink shorts.
The Association of Motion Picture Sound announced Nightingall's death on Wednesday, along with a short recap of his resume. In addition to Star Wars, Nightingall also worked as a boom operator on films like Alfie, Funeral In Berlin, and The Boys From Brazil, along with multiple James Bond movies. But none of those projects have achieved Star Wars' passionate fanbase. In 2015, one such fan posted a set photo featuring Nightingall's pink shorts on Reddit. Ever since, other fans have started cosplaying as Nightingall at conventions and events.
Sadly, Ken Nightingall passed away last night. Ken was a boom operator, he worked on multiple #Bond films and was the famous “pink shorts” boom op on original #StarWars.— AMPS (@AMPS_UK) May 20, 2020
Other credits include Alfie, Funeral in Berlin, The Boys from Brazil and Supergirl. He was a legend! pic.twitter.com/8Sv6ArRecZ
"I think it's very nice," Nightingall told ABC News last summer when interviewed about the phenomenon. "They seem to like it. Good for them."
The desert planet of Tatooine may be fictional, but it was filmed in the very real-life desert of Tunisia. For Nightingall, the climate was enough to explain his colorful clothing choice: "It was very, very hot."