Director JJ Abrams, who resurrected Star Wars with Disney by making The Force Awakens in 2015, described Anthony Daniels as ‘the least-recognisable superstar on the planet’.
The legendary actor best-known for bringing loveable goldenrod droid, C-3PO to life in the Star Wars movie franchise, Anthony Daniels is in fact the only living actor to have appeared in all eleven films.
He has also been involved in many of the spin-offs. Amongst other events, he performed in the three radio dramatisations of the original trilogy, tap-danced on The Muppet Show, promoted measles and polio vaccines, wrote and produced anti-smoking commercials, took part in the Oscar Ceremonies, befriended Big Bird on Sesame Street, filmed and voiced his animated figure as the pilot in Disney's ride, Star Tours-The Adventures Continue, became a Kellogg's breakfast cereal and had his own cartoon series, Droids.
The Clone Wars, LEGO-The Yoda Chronicles, Droid Tales and Rebels are some of the other animated series he has voiced, as well as, commercially, the WAZE and TomTom GPS satnav devices.
Studying acting at college for three years, Anthony was lucky to have excellent teachers in the mime and radio departments, two fields of art that would prove very useful in future years.
Leaving college in 1974, he won a BBC Radio Award, which secured him a place in their Drama Company. After hundreds of productions, Anthony left to go into theatre, joining the National Theatre of Great Britain at The Young Vic. It was whilst playing in Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, that he got the call to meet George Lucas about a sci-fi movie.
Given the difficulties of the proposed costume, Lucas was specifically interested in Anthony's acting and mime skills. Anthony, on the other hand, wasn't interested at all. Having once asked for a refund after seeing 2001 – A Space Odyssey, he had never been attracted to the world of sci-fi. So Anthony declined the interview, not wishing to waste Lucas's time.
However, his older and wiser agent ensured that he did meet the director. It was a Ralph McQuarrie's concept painting of the character that really grabbed Anthony's interest and, having read the script, he was thrilled to be given the role.
The following day he was covered in plaster to make a mould of his body, the first step in creating the now globally recognised character.
Six months later the costume was almost ready and filming began. It wasn't an easy shoot for Anthony. The seventeen pieces of the amazing gold suit didn't quite fit him, or each other. It was cold in the desert scenes and boiling in Elstree studio during the hottest summer on record.
His companion, R2D2, was speechless during filming – the sounds added in post-production, so Anthony spent weeks just talking to himself. Lucas later worked to replace Anthony's on-set vocal performance with a more American one. However, nothing fitted the original like the original and he generously asked Anthony to dub his own character voice back onto the edited film.
The success of A New Hope leads to the sequels. So with some adjustments to the suit, Anthony found himself happily filming The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. His participation in The Phantom Menace was as an off-camera voice; not a satisfying method of characterisation, so he took over the arduous puppetry of the 'naked' C-3PO for Attack Of The Clones, once again providing live action and voice.
Fully gold and shining in Episode III, The Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens (albeit with a red arm), Rogue One and The Last Jedi. With The Rise of Skywalker, Anthony is the only actor to work on all the Star Wars films as C-3PO and, briefly, as Tak in Solo.
Anthony has written extensively about his experiences especially in his 'New Improved Wonder Column' in the original Star Wars Insider magazine. He produced his first comic book for Dark Horse, The Protocol Offensive. His writing skills were harnessed by Hasbro Interactive for their Star Wars Monopoly. In 2019, he published his memoirs of his film experiences in "I AM C-3PO – The Inside Story".
Although the Star Wars saga has formed a major part of Anthony Daniels' career, he has interspersed those movies with a variety of television and stage appearances. These range from situation comedies such as Square Deal and Three Up Two Down to more serious dramas such as Prime Suspect and Priestly's Dangerous Corner.
Anthony is a visiting tutor at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center. He is the proud holder of a Blue Peter Gold Badge and divides his time between England and the south of France.