Peter Mayhew, the actor who brought Chewbacca to life, has died

Peter Mayhew, the actor behind the iconic alien Chewbacca in the franchise Star Wars died earlier this week, according to a statement from his family posted on Twitter. He was 74 years old.

Mayhew died on April 30 at her home in Texas. His family writes that "the family of Star Wars meant much more to him than a role in a movie," and that "for more than 30 years, Peter traveled all over the world spending time with his fans and friends. "

At 7 feet and 2 inches tall, he was the ideal actor to play at tall, hairy eaves to Han Solo by Harrison Ford in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. According to JW Rinzler in his book The Making of Star Wars Mayhew began acting almost accidentally : the producers of Sinbad and the eye of the tiger saw a picture of him in an article on hom with great feet, and throw it in the movie. "One of the make-up artists at Sinbad was also creating the Wookiee costume, and he suggested the producers of Star Wars . So four or five months later, after playing a Minoton, I was playing a Wookiee. "He ended up creating one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars franchise: the impatient and comical partner who often saved the day.


Image: Lucasfilm

But while the majority of the actors leave their roles behind, Mayhew is still the figure behind Chewie, he continued to continue playing the character in The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, The Revenge of the Sith The Force Awakens and Star Wars Holiday Special . He also made numerous appearances as Chewbacca in commercials and hospital visits and regularly attended sci-fi conventions to sign autographs, which It was recently in Star Wars Celebration last month. He also created a charitable foundation, the Peter Mayhew Foundation, dedicated to "alleviating the disease, pain, suffering and financial cost caused by the traumatic events of life."

He may be removed from his role as Chewbacca in 2017 after a surgical procedure, delivering the scroll to actor Joonas Suotamo, who played the character in later films, but Mayhew helped keep Chewbacca alive until the end: was credited as "Chewbacca consultant" for The Force Awakens The Last Jedi Solo: A Star Wars Story, and probably the next Rise of Skywalker as well.