Chewie joins the force

Written by on 03/05/2019

Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed the iconic Star Wars character Chewbacca, has passed away at the age of 74.

Mayhew died at his home in Texas on Tuesday, according to a family statement.

No cause of death was given.

The 7-foot-3 actor played the beloved and furry Chewbacca, sidekick to Han Solo and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, in the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy.  

The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home,’ his family said.  

‘Peter was the man behind the mask of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the new trilogy.

‘He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound and stand tall to portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

‘He also consulted on The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his successor,’ the statement concluded, referring to Joonas Suotamo, the Finnish basketball player who took over as Chewbacca in The Last Jedi.

Mayhew was plucked from obscurity in 1976 when he was working as an orderly at London’s King’s College Hospital.

Producer Charles H. Schneer cast him as a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger after seeing a photograph of Mayhew in an article about a man with large feet.

That lead to Mayhew being cast as Chewbacca in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. 

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