'Star Wars' Actor Peter Mayhew Dies at Age 74, Best Known for Portraying Chewbacca

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'Star Wars' Actor Peter Mayhew Dies at Age 74, Best Known for Portraying Chewbacca

Actor Peter Mayhew, who originated the function of Chewbacca, and continued to play him in most types of Star Wars media till 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens died on April 30, 2019.

According to an announcement launched Thursday on the actor’s Twitter account, Mayhew handed away in his North Texas Home, surrounded by his family members.  

London-born Mayhew started performing when he was scouted for the function of the Minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger as a result of a producer recognizing his unusually massive toes in a newspaper article.

Later that yr Mayhew then went onto audition for his most iconic function, Chewbacca, the place he grew to become the physique and soul of the bowcaster-wielding Wookie. The then-unknown actor received the function as a result of his towering 7’3” physique that allowed him to face tall above even Darth Vader. Although Chewbacca’s voice was engineered by sound designer Ben Burtt, many attribute the character’s expressiveness to Mayhew’s distinctive talent at physique language.

Mayhew performed Chewbacca throughout 5 Star Wars movies: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015), although Finnish former faculty basketball participant Joonas Suotamo — who would tackle the function completely in subsequent movies — was credited as Chewbacca’s double in that movie.

Mayhew additionally voiced the character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for the season three episode “Wookie Hunt.”

Mayhew’s Chewbacca appearances went properly past the Star Wars franchise. He would usually reprise the function for non-Star Wars properties, like Glee, The Muppet Show, and Donny & Marie.

Outside of Star Wars, Mayhew additionally offered the voice of the Dragon Ball GT: A Hero’s Legacy character, Susha. 

The actor’s co-stars wrote lovingly of Mayhew following Thursday’s announcement.

“He was the gentlest of giants — A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly,” wrote co-star Mark Hamill on Twitter. “I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him.”

“Devastated to hear about the passing of a dear friend and mentor,” wrote Suotamo on Twitter, reflecting on how Mayhew helped him turn out to be Chewbacca. “He was an absolutely one-of-a-kind gentleman and a legend of unrivaled class and I will miss him.”

Billy Dee Williams, who labored intently with Mayhew on each Empire and Jedi, stated the late actor was “Much more than Chewie to me…My heart hurts…I will miss you my dear friend…thanks for the great memories!”

In the final decade of his life, Mayhew started publishing books aimed toward youthful audiences. His first ebook: Growing up Giant was meant to indicate kids that being totally different needs to be seen as a energy. In his second title, My Favorite Giant advocated in opposition to bullying.

A non-public memorial for completely family and friends will happen on June 29. A extra public, fan memorial is predicted to occur throughout early December in Los Angeles on the Star Wars conference, Empire Con LA. Mayhew’s household will likely be in attendance of each memorials. Mayhew is survived by his spouse Angie and their three kids.

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