Peter Mayhew, The Actor Who Played Chewbacca, Passes Away at 74
One of the joys of movies is that we often feel connected to characters, and the actors behind those characters. Sometimes, a role even comes to define an actors’ career, like Johnny Depp and Jack Sparrow, Heath Ledger and The Joker, Anthony Hopkins and Hannibal, to name a few.
Peter Mayhew found that character in Chewbacca, a role he first assumed in 1977 and one he carried out all the way to 2015’s The Force Awakens. Chewbacca is a pop-culture icon, an indelible mark on our collective consciousness, and a character only a man of his 7-foot-3 stature could embody.
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. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew Foundation (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
Peter passed away just days ago on 30th April 2019, and the news of his passing was shared out from his official Twitter account yesterday (2 May), having undergone spinal surgery last June to improve his mobility. He is survived by his wife, Angie, as well as three children.
Upon the breaking of the news of Peter’s death, his colleagues from the Star Wars cast chimed in to pay tribute to the man behind the Wookie. Mark Hamill, who of course plays series protagonist Luke Skywalker, tweeted,
“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. I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Harrison Ford also praised the actor, calling him “partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years” and proclaiming, “I loved him”.
While a private memorial will take place on 29 June, there will be a gathering of fans to pay respect to Peter at EmpireConLA in December.
This is so sad! It feels like our childhoods are just slipping away a little year after year. What are your favorite Chewbacca memories? Tell us in the comments!
Also read: This Malaysian-Made LighterSaber is the Cutest Thing All ‘Star Wars’ Fans Will Love!
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