Star Wars' 'pink shorts boom guy' Ken Nightingall dies aged 92

Guardian film

Ken Nightingall, the veteran boom operator who was immortalised to a generation of Star Wars fans as “pink shorts boom guy”, has died aged 92.

The Association of Motion Picture Sound confirmed the news on social media, saying he had died on Tuesday.

Nightingall, who was part of the largely British crew who worked on the first Star Wars film (later titled subtitled A New Hope), became a cult figure after a photograph of him on set in Tunisia, dressed in pink shorts and work boots, surfaced on Reddit in 2015. Fans dressed in the costume subsequently turned up at Star Wars conventions.

In 2019 Nightingall told ABC that it “was very, very hot” in Tunisia, where the scenes set on the planet Tatooine were filmed. Star Wars won the Academy Award for best sound in 1978, though Nightingall was not named on the citation. Nightingall’s son Terence, however, told ABC that the crew were not overly impressed during production. “Most of them working on the movie thought it was the biggest load of crap they’d ever worked on.”

However, Nightingall expressed his approval of the Star Wars cosplayers. “I think it’s very nice. They seem to like it. Good for them.”

Prior to Star Wars, Nightingall worked as a boom operator on the Michael Caine films Alfie and Funeral in Berlin, and afterwards four Bond films including For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights.