The world of “Star Wars” has lost another member of its family. The family of actor Peter Mayhew reports that the actor who played the Wookiee Chewbacca died in his Texas home on April 30 at the age of 74. No official cause of death was given.
By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70679314
At seven foot three inches, Mayhew was perfect for the role of the furry character in five of the films. Joonas Suotamo took over the role of Chewbacca in “The Force Awakens”.
Speaking on Mayhew, Mark Hamill – who played Luke Skywalker – said via Twitter, “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.”
Mayhew was working as a hospital orderly at King’s College Hospital when he was discovered by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas in 1977.
During his acting career, Mayhew appeared in only 27 productions. Along with the “Star Wars” franchise, his credits include “Terror”, “Hazell”, “The Muppet Show”, “Dark Towers”, “The Kenny Everett Television Show”, the TV Movie “Dragon Ball GT: A Hero’s Legacy”, “The Late Show with David Letterman”, a dead man on “Yesterday Was a Lie”, “Glee”, “Breaking In”, and his final role in 2016 in “Killer Ink”.
He was born on May 19, 1944 in London, England. Mayhew became a citizen of the United States in 2005.
His accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the MTV Movie Awards.
Mayhew is survived by his wife of 20 years Angie and three children.
feature photo credit: By Valdez Lopez – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1795323