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Peter Mayhew: Star Wars’ Chewbacca Star Dies At 74

Peter Mayhew died at his home in North Texas on Tuesday, 30th April 2019, at age 74. His family announced the news on Thursday through a statement on his Twitter account. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.

 

 

The British-US actor played Chewbacca, the giant Wookiee warrior in several “Star Wars” films from 1977 until 2015. He owned the role of the tall and shaggy giant who roared inarticulately, but somehow understandably.

 

Peter Mayhew was also a consultant for the most recent instalment, “The Last Jedi,” guiding his successor, Joonas Suotamo, a Finnish basketball player.

 

“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame,” his family said.

 

The 7-foot-3 actor had undergone spinal surgery last year to improve his mobility, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, the cause of death was not reported.

 

Remembering Mayhew

In a statement, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy remembered Mayhew for his interpretation of the furry beast.

 

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, described Mayhew as “the gentlest of giants”. He said,

“What was so remarkable about him was his spirit and his kindness. And his gentleness was so close to what a Wookiee is. He just radiated happiness and warmth. He was always up for a laugh and we just hit it off immediately and stayed friends for over 40 years.”

 

 

Harrison Ford also bid farewell to his Star Wars co-star.

 

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In 1978 (from left) Star Wars actors Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew. Photo: AP

 

Harrison Ford gave a heartfelt message following the announcement of his death on Thursday. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, he said,

“Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years, and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience.”

 

He also credited Peter Mayhew for the popularity of the legendary science fiction film series.

 

 

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Peter Mayhew, as Chewbacca, in 1978. Photo: CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images

Sarah Ifidon

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