United Kingdom (July 29, 2020)—Ken Nightingall, a veteran film recordist who worked on nearly 50 films over the course of his career, died at home outside London on May 19, reportedly of complications from COVID-19. The retired 92-year-old became an unlikely cult figure within Star Wars fandom in recent years, earning the nickname “Pink Shorts Boom Guy.”
While not listed in the credits of 1977’s Star Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope, fans tracked down Nightingall in 2015 after photos surfaced online of him working on-set in the Tunisian desert wearing only small pink shorts. As he succinctly explained to ABC News in 2019, “It was very, very hot.”
As Star Wars has become a bottomless well of minutia for fans to pore and obsess over, Nightingall’s sartorial choice gained a following as cosplayers began dressing up as him for sci-fi and comic book conventions. Amused by his unexpected notoriety more than 40 years after the fact, he told ABC, “I think it’s very nice. They seem to like it. Good for them.”
There was far more to Nightingall’s career than merely Star Wars, of course. Over the years, he worked on four James Bond films (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights), Alfie, The Boys from Brazil and many more, closing out his work life with 1998’s Lost In Space.