Born: 19 May 1944
Birthplace: Barnes, England
Best known as: Chewbacca in the early Star Wars movies
Peter Mayhew's career in film has been all about his size. Over seven feet tall (he's reportedly 7'3"), Mayhew was just what George Lucas was looking for when casting the part of hairy sidekick Chewbacca for the first Star Wars movie (1977). Raised on the outskirts of London, Mayhew had been a hospital orderly whose only acting experience had been as a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (filmed earlier, but also released in 1977). As "Chewie," a member of a bi-pedal race called Wookiees, he was in the first three Star Wars movies: Star Wars, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi. Chewbacca was the loyal, furry co-pilot of Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford). The success of the films allowed Mayhew to have a long career as an original Star Wars cast member, making public appearances and selling autographs and memorabilia to fans around the world. Mayhew also appeared in the second-generation Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005, starring Hayden Christensen).
Extra credit: Mayhew moved to Texas in 1999 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005.
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