Peter Mayhew, Star Wars’ Chewbacca, Dead At 74

Peter Mayhew - the original Chewbacca - for featured image

Mayhew, Chewbacca Actor, Dead At 74

Peter Mayhew, the actor who came to fame as the Wookiee Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, is dead. The actor, who died on April 30th, was 74. His wife, Angie, made the announcement on his various social media accounts on Thursday. Mayhew passed at home at his ranch in North Texas, surrounded by his family. No cause of death has been announced.

The Man Behind the Wookiee

Peter Mayhew Chewbacca
Peter Mayhew, Star Wars’ original Chewbacca

Peter Mayhew was a 7’3″ hospital orderly in England when he was discovered by movie producer Charles H. Schneer. He then played a part in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. However, George Lucas soon asked him to audition for an in-development science fiction film. According to Mayhew himself in a documentary, when Lucas entered the room, he rose out of polite behavior to shake Lucas’ hand. Lucas took one look at Mayhew and said, “I think we found him.” 

Unbeknownst to him, fellow Englishman David Prowse had also been up for the part of Chewbacca, but chose to be Darth Vader instead. Mayhew would go on to play Chewbacca in seven films, and some TV appearances. He would rarely play a part outside of Chewbacca in film or on television. 

Memorial Plans Announced

A private memorial service for friends and family will take place at the end of June. A more public celebration of Mayhew’s life will take place in December. His family will be in attendance, along with a display of select items from his personal collection. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Peter Mayhew Foundation, to continue the good works of its founder and namesake.

Peter Mayhew is now one with the Force.

Word of the Nerd would like to extend our condolences at this time.

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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

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