SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in 'Star Wars,' dies at 74

Chewbacca has been an iconic 'Star Wars' character from the beginning. See why the Wookie has become a fan favorite.

Posted: May 3, 2019 8:32 AM


Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, has died, according to his agent.

Mayhew, 74, died on April 30 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.

The Hollywood icon played Chewbacca in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the New Trilogy, according to a statement from his family.

Mayhew, who once used a wheelchair because of a bum knee, stood tall to portray Chewbacca once more in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." He also consulted on "The Last Jedi" to help teach his successor.

"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," his family said. "But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film."

Mayhew started the Peter Mayhew Foundation to support people in crisis situations, including providing food and supplies for the children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom.

"His kindness, generosity and care will live on in the Peter Mayhew Foundation with Angie taking the helm as his voice," his family said.

A memorial service for friends and family will be held on June 29. In early December, there will be a memorial in Los Angeles for fans.

Tributes pour in for the 'Star Wars' legend

Just two days before May 4, a day when "May the Fourth" puns run rampant, celebrities and "Star War" fans remember Mayhew as the man who inhabited the Wookie suit dating back to the '70s.

"He was the gentlest of giants," said Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. "A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete."

Fans shared images of meeting Mayhew at different conventions over the years.

"I am so thankful that Mr. Mayhew found the strength to participate in this year's Star Wars Celebration, even after he had to cancel a day due to health reasons. I was honored that my wife @gokatteego and I could have our picture taken with him. It means so much to us," said Keith Forche, who shared a picture taken on April 13 at the Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago.

Dan Robinson, who met the legend at San Diego Comic Con 2004, said Mayhew brought life to a character no one could understand, other than Han, of course.

"Body movements, head tilts, and expressive eyes. He was such a humble softspoken man that always took time for the fans," he told CNN. "He was my first 'Star Wars' actor I got an autograph from. I was in awe of being 6 foot 2 and watching my hand disappear into his when I shook his hand and thanked him for all he brought to 'Star Wars.' I've been a fan since I was 2 years old when I saw it in 1979 [at a drive-in] for a re-release."

The man behind the 'Chewie' mask

Standing 7 feet and 3 inches tall, Mayhew once said playing Chewbacca transformed him, according to a statement on the "Star Wars" fanchise site.

"The attitude was different," he said about acting in the costume. "The walk was different. Do the scenes, come back, take the mask off, Peter was back."

"Star Wars" first debuted in theaters on May 25, 1977, and ignited a major worldwide fandom.

"Peter was larger than life in so many ways ... a gentle giant playing a gentle giant. Rest in peace," Disney CEO Robert Iger said.

Mayhew's portrayal of the beloved "Star Wars" character was integral to the trilogy's success, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said.

"When I first met Peter during 'The Force Awakens,' I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature," she said. "Peter was brilliantly able to express his personality through his skillful use of gesture, posture, and eyes. We all love Chewie, and have Peter to thank for that enduring memory."

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 43°
Kokomo
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 29°
Rensselaer
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 30°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 43°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 35°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 32°
Monticello
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 35°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 35°
Logansport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 34°
Warmest day since November ahead Monday.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events