19 May 1944 |
Barnes, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
|Residence||Boyd, Texas, United States|
|Home town||Barnes, Surrey, England, U.K.|
|Height||7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)|
|Spouse(s)||Angie Luker (1999–present)|
|Peter Mayhew on Twitter|
Early life and physique
Mayhew was born on 19 May 1944 in Barnes, Surrey, where he was also raised. His height is a product not of gigantism — "I don't have the big head" — but of a genetic disease called Marfan Syndrome. The condition was treated successfully in his mid-teens. His peak height was 7 feet 3 inches (2.21 m).
Mayhew got his first acting job in 1976 when the producers of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger discovered him from a photograph in a newspaper article about men with large feet, and cast him in the role of the minotaur.
When casting his first Star Wars film, producer George Lucas needed a tall actor who could fit the role of the hairy alien Chewbacca. He originally had in mind 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) bodybuilder David Prowse, but instead cast Prowse as Darth Vader. This led Lucas on a search which turned up Mayhew, who says that all he had to do to be cast in the role of Chewbacca was stand up.
When cast in the role, Mayhew studied the movement of large animals at the zoo to come up with an authentic sense of movement for Chewbacca. His work proved so distinctive that when Mayhew became ill during the shooting of The Empire Strikes Back and had to be replaced by a similarly tall stand-in, the new actor was unable to mimic Mayhew's movement style and the scenes had to be re-shot upon Mayhew's recovery. Mayhew did not provide the voice of Chewbacca; that was created by the film's sound designer, Ben Burtt, by mixing together the growls of different animals.
Mayhew has played Chewbacca in four Star Wars films: the original trilogy (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He also played the role in the 1978 television film Star Wars Holiday Special and in an appearance on The Muppet Show. He also recorded dialogue for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 finale episode "Wookiee Hunt".
Mayhew also plays the role in commercials and for hospital appearances for sick children and has made numerous appearances as Chewbacca outside the Star Wars films. Mayhew as Chewbacca was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Film Awards 1997. He was additionally honoured at the release of the new PlayStation Portable where he dressed as Chewbacca and held up the new PSP slim version.
He has made other media appearances without the Chewbacca costume. He appeared on NBC's Identity, where his identity was based on the fact that he played Chewbacca and was a frequent guest in the early days of Slice of SciFi.
Despite his recent[when?] health setbacks, it has been reported that Mayhew will reprise his role of Chewbacca in Star Wars Episode VII which is scheduled to start filming in May 2014 and feature the return of cast members that appeared in the original trilogy. On April 29, 2014, it was confirmed that Mayhew would reprise his role.
Mayhew now lives in Boyd, Texas and is a business owner. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2005 at a ceremony in Arlington, Texas. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he joked that he didn't get a medal at this ceremony either, a reference to the Star Wars scene in which Luke and Han get medals but Chewbacca does not. Mayhew noted in an MTV interview that although Chewbacca doesn't get a medal in the film, he does get the last line, when he roars.
- "Entertainment". Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter. 2009-05-19. p. C6.
- Karl Quinn (12 April 2014). "Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew in Melbourne for Supernova fan convention". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- All about Peter Mayhew
- Remaking Wookiee: Chewbacca Becomes a Character on 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars', retrieved 2011-05-31
- The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Wookiee Hunt, StarWars.com, retrieved April 1, 2011
- Ford, Rebecca (April 7, 2014). "'Star Wars: Episode VII' Adds Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
- Chewbacca Making Dallas-Area Appearances | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
- "Star Wars actor who played Chewbacca to become American citizen". The Canadian Press. 2005-10-12. p. 16.
- 'Star Wars' actor, others pledge their allegiance, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, People Watch, Metro Section, page B2, October 18, 2005.
- Interview - Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca Speaks!), 2008-04-30
- Wookie knee repair: 'Star Wars' actor Peter Mayhew hopes to walk again after Fort Worth surgery, at the Dallas Morning News; published September 11, 2013
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