Peter Mayhew, Who Played Chewbacca In Star Wars, Dies Aged 74
Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the original trilogy, has died aged 74.
He died on Tuesday at his North Texas home surrounded by loved ones, according to a family statement posted on Twitter.
"The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away," the statement reads.
"He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home.”
Mayhew was unusually tall. His height was not due to gigantism, but he measured 2.21 metres at his highest, a height that contributed to his success in the acting world.
He was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer while working as a hospital attendant in London and was subsequently cast in Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad and Eye of the Tiger. The next year, he was cast as Chewbacca, the 200-year-old Wookiee.
Mayhew went on to appear in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens and The Star Wars Holiday Special.
He was active on the Star Wars convention circuit and wrote two books: Growing Up Giant and My Favorite Giant.
George Lucas originally had his eye on bodybuilder George Prowse for the role of Chewbacca.
Prowse decided to play Darth Vader instead, and Lucas went with the even-taller Mayhew.
Image: Star Wars / LucasFilms