Who is Solo Gardner and what is he doing in The Force Awakens?

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The Force Awakens has a pretty cool character reference from ANH. Our band of heroes eventually find their way to Maz Katina’s castle. There, they come across an assortment of Maz’s pirate friends – including an elderly gentleman played by Solo Gardner. Eagle eyed Star Wars fans will spot that Gardener appeared in the Chalmun's Catina scene of the original movie as a character known as Trinto Duago.

Above  is a somewhat aged Gardener with a new motley crew. He is just to the left of the giant yellow fellow.

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Trinto, as found in ANH
Gardner's orginal character was originally referred to on set as ‘Terminal Man' but it was was the mid 1990s when he was given his formal name.

His mask was not originally designed for A New Hope but was rather made by Rick Baker (who became fairly famous in his own right) as a idea of a Frankenstein.

Salo Gardener, a veteran of the British film industry. He's made quite the career for himself doing smallish parts in big films. This included Superman II, Shaun of the Dead and Harry Potter.

There is however some speculation here that Salo did not play the original character. 
None the less, Gardner  appears for a second time in a Star Wars movie
A good old google search suggests that this fellow's character was also recycled through for an appearance in the now infamous Star Wars Holiday Special:
trinto starwars special

Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for Infuzemag.com and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing articles, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.