|Source: Rex Features Moviestore Collection|
Matthew DeMeritt (Body)
DeMeritt was born without legs. As a result, he's always walked on his hands. His ability came in handy when he was twelve years old, and they needed little people to wear the rubber suit of E.T. He mainly performed in the drunk scenes where E.T. needed to fall over or walk awkwardly. Yes, they had a performer whose sole purpose was to fall on his face. But the suit was padded, so it was okay. He never acted again, but looks back fondly on his work.
Pat Bilon (Body)
Michael Patrick Bilon, known as "Little Pat," was a little person actor who had performed in Under the Rainbow. He was only two feet ten inches tall, one of the smallest adult actors at the time. Pat performed the majority of the body work in the movie in a costume that weighed almost as much as he did. He even put on the costume again for a performance of E.T. at the Hollywood Bowl. Sadly, he died in 1983.
Tamara De Treaux (Body)
Tamara was another little person who worked on E.T. She was part of a singing group called the Medflies when Spielberg spotted her in a performance. He asked her to audition, and she won the part. While originally hired as an understudy, she ended up taking over briefly for Bilon when he hurt his back. She walked up the ramp into the spaceship in the final scene. She later performed in Ghoulies and Rockula. She died at 31.
Pat Welsh was an old woman with an incredibly gravelly voice. She smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. At sixty-seven, she was also the voice of E.T. Ben Burtt, the sound designer for E.T., was in a camera store when he heard her talking to someone. Her raspy voice seemed perfect for the alien. She later worked for George Lucas when she did the voice of Boushh in Return of the Jedi. All that phlegm made her a star. She died at 79 in 1995.
Caprice Roth (Hands)
Roth is a professional mime who donned a pair of rubber hands to perform as E.T. When E.T. reached out for Reese's Pieces or made his finger glow, that was Roth. She crouched or lay on her back, working the hands on screen. Reportedly, she drank too much coffee on the first day, and her hand trembled. Spielberg liked it, and asked her to keep shaking her hands while performing the alien. Since E.T., she has been a director, producer, teacher, and mask-maker.
What did you think of E.T.? Which do you think had the hardest job?
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