Star Wars Lovable Wookiee Chewbacca Is No More
Hollywood actor Peter Mayhew, who became known to fans worldwide as Chewbacca in the Star Wars galaxy of films, has died. The 74-year old died Tuesday in his North Texas home with his family by his side. The actor who had undergone spinal surgery in July last year played Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015).
When Mayhew was selected for this project, he stood at 7 feet 3 inches and was cast because the director George Lucas wanted someone who was taller than Darth Vader. He was working as a hospital orderly at that time and after the first film, went back to work as an orderly, a job he did not leave for good until the release of Return of the Jedi, after which he made a living off of Chewbacca.
He finally retired from the role in 2017 as he passed the torch to Finnish-born basketball player turned actor Joonas Suotamo who also played the part in The Last Jedi (2017) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Mark Hamill paid tribute to Peter on his twitter:
J.J. Abrams, who directed Mayhew in The Force Awakens, shared a message on Twitter: