Peter Mayhew, Actor Who Played Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ Dies at 74

Actor Peter Mayhew, who is best known for playing Chewbacca in various Star Wars films, died earlier this week at the age of 74. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor died on April 30 in his home in North Texas with his family by his side. He had reportedly undergone spinal surgery last year to improve his mobility. Mayhew played the 200-year old Wookiee in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens. He was first cast in 1977 based on his 7-foot-3-inch stature, because director George Lucas needed someone to stand taller than Darth Vader. Beyond his height, many attribute Mayhew’s body language and expressive eyes in making Chewbacca a favorite character among fans. In later years, Mayhew worked with actor Joonas Suotamo—who will play Chewbacca in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.