Drewe Henley
Drewe Henley.jpg
Died14 February 2016(2016-02-14) (aged 75–76)
Exeter, Devon, England
(m. 1963; div. 1967)
(m. 1968; div. 1979)
Lyn Henley
(m. 1983; died 2015)
ChildrenCharley Henley

Drewe Henley (born Gordon Henley; 1940 – 14 February 2016) was an English actor. He had a variety of roles in film, television and theatre including as Red X-Wing Squadron Leader Garven Dreis in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He retired from acting due to bipolar disorder. He was married to Felicity Kendal, with whom he had a son.


Henley appeared in film, television and theatre productions. These included episodes of Z-Cars, UFO, The Avengers and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and a three-week run of Henry V in 1968 in which he played the lead role.[1]

He is known for his role as X-Wing pilot Red Leader (Garven Dreis) in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), a role for which he was mistakenly credited as Drewe Hemley.[2][3] Henley used an American accent for the part; the role had limited physical movement as Henley's character remained in the cockpit for much of the film which Henley found difficult. Unlike many of the actors in the first released film in the series, Henley's performance was not dubbed in post-production. Henley interpreted his character as an experienced battle veteran and so opted to play him without any excitement in his voice. Director George Lucas disagreed with this so they compromised so that Red Leader would at first be formal but as the battle progressed become more excited.[3]

The performance was Henley's final one on film, as he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, then known as manic depression, shortly after completing his part and retired from acting.[3][4][5] When the Special Edition cut of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released in 1997 it featured an additional scene of Henley in which he talked with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Biggs Darklighter (Garrick Hagon). Henley was pleased with the scene's addition, although his credit was not corrected.[3]

Personal life

He was married to actress Jacqueline Pearce for three and a half years from 1963 until they divorced.[6] He married actress Felicity Kendal in 1968 and they had one son, Charley, a special effects technician.[7][8] They divorced in 1979 after he became manic depressive.[9] According to an interview with Kendal in 2000, Henley had become a "former" manic depressive. Henley and his illness were discussed in her autobiography White Cargo.[4] He and his third wife Lyn Henley ran a bed and breakfast in Devon, and they were married until her death in 2015.[10]


On Valentine's Day, 2016, he choked to death on a fish pie at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. He was 75 years old.[11]

Henley posthumously reprised his role as Garven Dreis from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story via the use of archive footage. Previously unused audio was also used for some of his scenes.



Year Title Role Notes
1963 Heavens Above! Doris' Boy Friend Uncredited
1964 Nothing But the Best Denis
633 Squadron Thor Uncredited
1965 Operation Crossbow Uncredited
The Alphabet Murders Bowling Alley Attendant Uncredited
1966 A Man for All Seasons Uncredited
1967 The 25th Hour Capt. Brunner
1968 Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter Clive
1970 Hell Boats Sub. Lt. Johnson, R.N.
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth Khaku
1971 Puppet on a Chain Jimmy Duclos
Quest for Love Man
1972 Frenzy Forensics technician Uncredited
1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Uncredited
1977 Star Wars Garven Dreis (Red Leader) Credited as Drewe Hemley
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Archival footage, posthumous appearance


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Avengers Groom 1 episode
Wuthering Heights Edgar Linton 3 episodes
1968-1969 Z-Cars Steve Ritchie/Sgt. Walker 3 episodes
1969 UFO (Conflict) Capt. Steve Maddox 1 episode
1970-71 The Doctors Dr. David Owens 6 episodes
1974 The Protectors Clarke 1 episode
1975 Hogg's Back Weight-lifter 1 episode
1977 Space: 1999 Joe Ehrlich 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Curtains go up on illustrious careers". Nottingham Evening Post. 29 July 2009.
  2. ^ "Dreis, Garven (Red Leader)". Star Wars.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Scott Chernoff (June 1998). "In the Star Wars Universe: Drewe Henley – Leader of the Pack". Star Wars Insider Issue 38.
  4. ^ a b Maureen Paton (1 October 2000). "It's the good life, second time around". The Sunday Times.
  5. ^ Maureen Paton (7 August 2003). "I never saw myself as a sex symbol". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Jacqueline Pearce (19 July 2009). "19 July 2009 – Drewe". Jacqueline Pearce.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Secrets of a good life". Western Daily Press. 1 November 2003.
  8. ^ Simon Edge (12 December 2007). "Felicity Kendal – Botox, yoga and why I'm happier with my good life now that I've finally hit my 60s". The Express.
  9. ^ Harriet Arkell. "Hellraiser's Crush on Wholesome Felicity". Evening Standard. p. 7.
  10. ^ Rita Campden. "A Cottage Gem in Devon, England" (PDF). Travel Scoop. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  11. ^ Merritt, Anita (13 January 2017). "Star Wars actor once married to Felicity Kendal died 'after choking on fish pie'". Daily Mirror.