In Memoriam: This Is "Chewbacca" Peter Mayhew's Career
He's the man behind the most lovable Star Wars character in history. Peter Mayhew left an incredible impression on the world by having a great big heart in a great big man.
The Man Behind Star Wars' "Chewbacca"
Peter Mayhew was born on May 19th, 1944 in Surrey, England. He was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome which led to his incredible height. At one point he reached 7 feet 3 inches!
His first role was in 1977's Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, where he cast because he was seen in a news article about men with big feet. Peter landed his gig in Star Wars when he stood up to shake George Lucas' hand who gave him the role of "Chewbacca" immediately then and there.
Peter Mayhew In Star Wars
Peter had been working as an orderly for a hospital where he continued to work until the 3rd Star Wars film! He studied the movements of bears and gorillas at the London Zoo to create the "Chewbacca" character. The distinct "Wookie" roar he made was not his own but everything else was.
He truly made the character lovable with his subtle hilarious reactions and movements. Peter grew a successful career of portraying "Chewbacca" and loved interacting with fans at conventions. He even reprised his role for the Star Wars reboot The Force Awakens.
Peter married his Texas sweetheart Angie Luker in 1999 and they had 3 children together. He committed to becoming a US Citizen and was naturalized in 2005 where he joked he did not get a medal at that ceremony either, a dig at his character not receiving a medal at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope.
Peter passed away from a heart attack in his Texas home on April 30th, 2019. The film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was dedicated to him.
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 #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
Rest in peace, Peter!