Peter Mayhew, who was world-renowned for performing Chewbacca in Star Wars, died at the age of 74 at home, according to a family statement. The British actor played this emblematic role from 1977 to 2015.
His coworkers praise his human qualities
After this sad news, many Star Wars members spoke, starting with George Lucas: “Peter was a wonderful man. He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature – and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend, and I’m saddened by his passing”. Kathleen Kennedy, the CEO of Lucasfilm, also reacted to the actor’s death: “Since 1976, Peter’s iconic portrayal of the loyal, lovable Chewbacca has been absolutely integral to the character’s success, and to the Star Wars saga itself. When I first met Peter during The Force Awakens, I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature. Peter was brilliantly able to express his personality through his skillful use of gesture, posture and eyes. We all love Chewie, and have Peter to thank for that enduring memory”.
Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker since the beginning of the saga, also highlighted the British actor’s human qualities. He also declared being “grateful for the memories” shared together and admitted being “a better man for just having known him”.
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
Harrison Ford, who was his sidekick from the Millennium Falcon, also spoke to The Hollywood Reporter. Han Solo’s actor praised “a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character”. He added “These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience. Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them”. Peter Mayhew was supposed to attend Fan Expo Dallas from May 3rd to 5th. He was also announced at The Los Angeles Empire Con convention scheduled in December 2019.