Actor Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the beloved Wookiee Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” films, died this week, his family said Thursday evening. He was 74.
The towering star passed away on April 30 at his North Texas home with his family at his side, according to a statement.
“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,” the family statement said.
The British-born Mayhew, who stood 7-foot-2, played Chewie in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and in Part 3 of the prequels, “Revenge of the Sith,” and returned for the series’ new trilogy. His final outing as Chewbacca was in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Mayhew also consulted on its 2017 follow-up, “The Last Jedi,” to train his successor, Joonas Suotamo.
Later in life, Mayhew devoted his time to charity causes, including Wounded Warriors and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, his family said.
“As the films released and became more well-known he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve with his role in the Star Wars universe,” they wrote.
“As he grew older he continued to ‘soldier on’ as he put it and was completely in his element around his fans and supporters.
“He grew great strength from the energy of his family, friends, and the fans he knew and loved.”
The family released the statement on Twitter. They added a photo of Mayhew with his long, shaggy hair next to a photo of him in the Chewbacca suit.
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SOURCE: Page Six – Ben Feuerherd