A Tribute to Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

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The Force will forever live on with Peter Mayhew.

The legendary Star Wars actor, who originated the role of the Wookie Chewbacca, passed away on April 30 at the age of 74 in his home of Boyd, Texas.

Born in Surrey, England on May 19, 1944, Mayhew reached a peak height of 7’3″. In 1976, Mayhew made his film debut as the Minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger after producers saw a newspaper article where Mayhew was seen as a tall man with large feet.

Shortly after, George Lucas cast Mayhew in the iconic role of Chewbacca, the partner-in-crime of mercenary Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford. During this time, Mayhew wasn’t intending to be an actor, but was working as an orderly at a hospital when Lucas saw him. Impressed with his height, Lucas hired Mayhew in the iconic role.

Mayhew would play the character for five films of the saga. Aside from the original trilogy, Mayhew would reprise the role in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Force Awekens. Mayhew sporadically appeared out of costume in various TV and films. Health issued forced Mayhew to retire from the role of Chewie but helped train replacement actor Joonas Suotamo in how to play the role as the similarly tall Finnish actor has taken over the role since Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Mayhew and his wife would leave the UK and move to Texas, where he operated a business in addition to appearing at Star Wars conventions.

Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie. World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Peter Mayhew. As a final tribute, here’s a 2016 interview from the Star Wars Celebration Europe convention.

Rest in Peace Peter Mayhew…and May the Force be Forever with You!

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