Peter Mayhew, Star Wars's Original, Iconic Chewbacca, Dies at 74

Peter Mayhew
(Image credit:

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Actor Peter Mayhew, Star Wars's original iconic Chewbacca, died on April 30 at 74 surrounded by his family at his North Texas home, his family announced Thursday on his Twitter. 

Beloved by multiple generations of fans, the English-born Mayhew appeared as the Wookie, Han Solo's best friend and Millenniun Falcon co-pilot in the orginal trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, The Star Wars Holiday Special, and last appeared in The Force Awakens. He was active on the Star Wars convention circuit for most of his career as Chewbacca.

Measuring 7 foot 3 inches tall, Mayhew, got the role of 'Chewie' when the original actor eyed for the role, bodybuilder David Prowse, decided to play Darth Vader instead. 

While occasionally appearing as an actor, Mayhew also co-authored with his wife Angie a graphic novel memoir, Growing Up Giant, and an anti-bullying book, My Favorite Giant, and became involved in charitable causes, including his own Peter Mayhew Foundation. 

There will be a memorial service for friends and family on June 29, with a memorial for fans early December at EmpireCon in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children. 

Originally published on Newsarama. 

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Michael Doran
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I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.