Peter Mayhew, who was Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ dies at 74
LOS ANGELES — His family says Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, has died at age 74.
The actor died Tuesday, April 30, at his Texas home with his family at his side, the statement continued.
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
The 7-foot-2-inch British actor portrayed Chewbacca in five “Star Wars” films — the original trilogy, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He also worked as a consultant on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” working with his successor in the role, Joonas Suotamo.
“For more than 30 years, Peter traveled all over the world spending time with his fans and friends,” according to a statement from his family. “Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit touching the lives of millions.”
He worked on behalf of charities and advocacy groups such as Make-A-Wish and Wounded Warriors. He established the Peter Mayhew Foundation, supporting “everything from individuals and families in crisis situations to food and supplies for children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom.”
Mayhew was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer while working as a hospital attendant in London, and cast in Ray Harryhausen’s “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.” The next year, he was cast as Chewbacca, the 200-year-old Wookiee.
Mayhew was active on the “Star Wars” convention circuit and wrote two books, “Growing Up Giant” and “My Favorite Giant.”
On TV, he made guest appearances on “Donny & Marie,” “The Muppet Show” and “Glee.” He seldom played roles outside of Chewbacca, outside of “Dark Towers,” on which he played the Tall Knight and horror movie “The Terror,” in which he played the Mechanic.
There will be a memorial service for friends and family on June 29, with a memorial for fans in Los Angeles in early December at EmpireCon. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.
The Associated Press, City News Service and Variety contributed to this report.