Peter Mayhew, the actor greatest recognized for portraying Chewbacca in the unique “Star Wars” trilogy, died at his dwelling in Texas on Tuesday. He was 74.
His household confirmed the dying in a press release on Thursday. A consultant for Mr. Mayhew stated he died after having a coronary heart assault.
Mr. Mayhew — who was 7-foot-Three — donned a shaggy costume to play Chewbacca, the menacing but cuddly Wookiee who was a sidekick to Han Solo and the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. He appeared in all three movies of the unique trilogy, in addition to in “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005 and “The Force Awakens” in 2015.
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films, from his knock-kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth,” Mr. Mayhew’s household stated in its assertion.
The actor Harrison Ford, who performed Han Solo, stated in a press release on Thursday that Mr. Mayhew “was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character.”
“These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca,” Mr. Ford stated.
Mr. Mayhew was born in London on May 19, 1944. He had a type of gigantism and had grown terribly tall by the time he was a teen.
He was in his 30s and dealing as an orderly in a London hospital when a movie producer noticed him in . He was finally forged to play the Minoton — a towering bronze determine — in the 1977 film “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.”
Shortly thereafter, he was really useful to George Lucas, who determined that Mr. Mayhew could be an excellent candidate to play Chewbacca in “Star Wars.” That position altered the course of Mr. Mayhew’s life. In addition to showing in “Star Wars” movies, he did work in consulting and in commercials involving Chewbacca.
Mr. Lucas referred to as Mr. Mayhew “a good friend” in a press release on Thursday and stated he was saddened by his passing.
“Peter was a wonderful man,” he added. “He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature.”
After knee surgical procedure in 2013 made it mandatory for Mr. Mayhew to make use of a wheelchair, it was unclear whether or not he would be capable to painting Chewbacca once more. But after a interval of intense rehabilitation, he was in a position to reprise his position yet another time in “The Force Awakens.”
That was when he met Kathleen Kennedy, who had succeeded Mr. Lucas as the president of Lucasfilm. “I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature,” she stated in a press release Thursday. “Peter was brilliantly able to express his personality through his skillful use of gesture, posture and eyes.”
Mr. Mayhew often interacted with followers at conventions and on social media. He once tweeted a personal response to the woman whose infectious laughter about a Chewbacca mask charmed thousands of people in 2016.
Mr. Mayhew was also known to carry a cane that resembled a lightsaber. The tool was investigated once, briefly, by Transportation Security Administration workers at an airport; he tweeted about that, too.
In 2011, Mr. Mayhew and his wife started the Peter Mayhew Foundation, which has supported various causes including helping a young woman get approved for a lifesaving lung transplant in 2016.
Mr. Mayhew is survived by his wife, Angie, who will continue running the foundation, as well as three daughters and one grandchild.