LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Flanked by two Storm Troopers, “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday with the enthusiasm and humility that has endeared him to fans four decades after his first turn as Luke Skywalker.
Hamill, 66, was introduced by “Star Wars” actor Harrison Ford and director George Lucas along with the customary beeps and squeaks of the saga’s robot R2-D2.
“It’s hard to convey my gratitude, my joy, the exhilaration of being recognized in this way,” Hamill told the scores of fans who surrounded the unveiling of the emblematic terrazzo and brass star in front of El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood’s heart.
Only a few years ago, Hamill’s star was barely at a flicker. Long eclipsed by castmates Ford and the late Carrie Fisher, he was never able turn himself into the leading man of the big screen after 1982’s “Return of the Jedi.”
But reviving the Skywalker role in two recent iterations of Disney’s “Star Wars” films and an active presence on Twitter has helped bring Hamill back into the spotlight.
“Mark Hamill is a character that can’t be written,” Lucas said. “He’s extremely enthusiastic about everything he does and that is exactly what I was looking for when I was looking for Luke Skywalker ... He proved his mettle well.”
Hamill, who also starred on the stage in “Amadeus” and voiced the Joker in the animated “Batman” TV series, returned the favor to Lucas.
“Let’s be honest, if it weren’t for the genius of George Lucas, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Hamill said. “Whatever led me to his doorstep, he changed my life forever in a way that still reverberates today.”
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and is major tourist attraction.
“From Jedi to Joker and back again, it has been a fantastic ride, thank you so much and may the force be with each and every one of you,” Hamill said.
Reporting by Rollo Ross, writing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman