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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Actor Who Played Chewbacca in 'Star Wars' Films Dead at Age 74

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Peter Mayhew, the iconic actor who played Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films has died at age 74. The cause of death is still unknown.

“He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his in his North Texas home,” the family wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

He is survived by his wife Angie and three children.

Mayhew famously portrayed Chewbacca in the original trilogy and even “fought his way back” after being wheel-chair bound so that he could portray Chewy once again in the 2015 film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Actors Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford arrive at St. Jude’s 30th anniversary screening of “The Empire Strikes Back” at Arclight Cinema on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss / Getty Images)
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He later returned to the “Star Wars” set to act as a consultant for his successor.

“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca,” his family wrote. “And it showed in every frame of the films from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth.”

In this Oct. 5, 1978 file photo, actors featured in the “Star Wars” movie, from left, Harrison Ford who played Han Solo, Anthony Daniels who played the robot C3P0, Carrie Fisher who played the princess, and Peter Mayhew who played the Wookie, Chewbacca, are shown during a break from the filming of a television special presentation in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

“But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film. The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come.”

“Star Wars” co-star Mark Hamill expressed his condolences on Twitter. “I’m a better man for just having known him,” he wrote.

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As his fame grew, he realized that he could have a great impact in the world so he began partnering with organizations like 501st Legion, Wounded Warrior and Make-a-Wish.

He also established the Peter Mayhew Foundation that “devoted to the alleviation of disease, pain, suffering, and the financial toll brought on by life’s traumatic events.”

Peter Mayhew attends the European Premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Leicester Square on December 16, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty Images)

A memorial service for friends and family will be held on June 29, 2019. A memorial for fans will also occur in early December at EmpireConLA.

In leiu of gifts and flowers, the family has requested that those who feel so moved, donate to the Peter Mayhew Foundation so that his passion for goodwill will be able to continue in his name. You can also send condolences via email to

Our prayers are with Mayhew’s family, friends, and fans as they grieve.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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