AP NEWS

Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew dead at 74

May 2, 2019

The man behind the Chewbacca mask in most of the “Star Wars” films died Tuesday at age 74, according to a post made by family members on his verified Twitter account.

Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in the original three “Star Wars” films as well as in the prequel, “Revenge of the Sith” and “The Force Awakens.”

Family members said Mayhew had been wheelchair-bound but managed to wear the costume for “The Force Awakens,” which was released in 2015 and kicked off a sequel trilogy to the popular franchise.

Mayhew was unable to wear the costume for 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” but worked as a consultant in attempt to teach successor Joonas Suotamo.

“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca 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,” family members said in a statement. “But, to him, the ‘Star Wars’ family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.”

Family members said Mayhew died Tuesday at his north Texas home with family by his side.

He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children. A memorial service for Mayhew will be held on June 29 and a memorial for fans is scheduled for early December in Los Angeles.