Star Wars actor and the man behind Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, has passed away aged 74 at his home in Texas. The “kind and gentle man” was a huge part of a Star Wars family that sadly lost Carrie Fisher in 2016 with Harrison Ford leading tributes.
Harrison Ford has led the tributes to a “kind and gentle man” following the death of Peter Mayhew, better known as the man who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise.
“I loved him,” said Ford, who praised Mayhew as a man of “great dignity and noble character”. The man who was a huge part of the Star Wars family – which sadly lost Carrie Fisher in 2016 – played Chewie between 1977 and 2015, His family issued a statement saying, “He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame.”
Mark Hamill, who has enjoyed a career renaissance thanks to the new Star Wars sequels, described Mayhew as the “the gentlest of giants”.
“What was so remarkable about him was his spirit and his kindness and his gentleness was so close to what a Wookiee is,” said the man who plays Luke Skywalker.
“He just radiated happiness and warmth. He was always up for a laugh and we just hit it off immediately and stayed friends for over 40 years.”
Born in London, Mayhew played the iconic wookie in the original Star Wars trilogy, the third episode of George Lucas’ prequels, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
George Lucas, who cast Mayhew in the role of Chewbacca based on his 7 foot 2 inches of height, said: “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.”