Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Dead at 74 | 22 Words

British actor Peter Mayhew played the iconic Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015).

Sadly, Mayhew passed away in his North Texas home today, surrounded by family. The news was confirmed by his official Twitter account.

Mayhew was hired for the role by George Lucas because he was insanely tall — a towering 7 ft, 3 in.

Lucas needed to find an actor who would be taller than Darth Vader for the role and discovered Mayhew who was working as a hospital orderly at the time.

He may have been Chewbacca's body, but he wasn't Chewbacca's voice.

The iconic Wookiee sound was actually invented by sound designer Ben Burtt. That said, Mayhew's body language gave the character warmth, depth, and a remarkably lovable quality that etched him into the hearts of fans worldwide.

There were only two Star Wars movies in which Mayhew didn't play Chewbacca.

Joonas Suotamo, a Finnish actor, played Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and will play him in the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In 2017, Suotamo trained with Mayhew on The Last Jedi (2017) to learn how to become Chewbacca.

From one Chewy to another.

Of the experience, Suotamo said, "Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookie has spread so much joy around the globe. Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."

Star Wars fans are mourning all over the world tonight.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a private memorial will be held on June 29th, and there will also be a gathering at EmpireConLA. He is survived by his wife Angie and three children.