Beloved by millions of Star Wars fans, Peter Mayhew brought forth many joyful memories as the tall and furry Chewbacca from the Star Wars Universe. He was the sidekick character opposite of Han Solo portrayed by Harrison Ford. His grunts and growls, have become a sensation over the years, as many have imitated the tall furry footed character.
Chewbacca is a Wookiee and there is much to like about him. But there was so much more to like and love about Peter Mayhew. One of his co-stars Mark Hamill tweeted out recently, “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.”
Before Star Wars, Peter Mayhew worked inside a hospital as an orderly. He won a role that changed his life forever, when Writer-director George Lucas cast him as Chewy (Chewbacca) the Wookiee. Allegedly, Lucas wanted him because he towered over villian Darth Vader on screen. Because of his physical size at 7-foot-3 inches, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Peter would go on to appear in a number of other productions over his career. He appeared in 6 different Star Wars films in total. The hugely successful science fiction series, changed his life so dramatically.
Mayhew leaves behind his wife, Angie and his three children. No doubt many people will shed a tear over this man, whom they never met but brought them so much warmth from the silver screen on and off.
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films,” said his family’s statement. “But, to him, the ‘Star Wars’ family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.”
(Source: National Public Radio)