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The friendliest giant of film history

The most famous role of Peter Mayhew was one in which he was not to see even one of them, or "Chewbacca" in Star Wars. With his death a Large, even in the sense of the word.

obituary of David Steinitz

The disadvantages of a person who is 2.21 metres tall: "In the Restaurant I can never get my feet under the table, in an airplane, I trust my head and people sitting in the Theater behind me, hate me. But I've given up trying to apologize constantly to the world."

the British actor Peter Mayhew, who was as shaggy Wookiee Chewbacca in the "Star Wars"films, the world famous told it, again and again, in Interviews and at public appearances. For example, in the "Star Wars Celebration", a Fanmesse that made 2013 in Essen Station. There you could keep Mayhew the whole weekend, well, because he's with his size, both his Kostars, as well as the hordes of fans by far out performing. On the stage he was sitting next to Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and anecdotes told from the "Star Wars"-prehistoric times, as they shot in 1977, together with the first Film "star wars".

Peter Mayhew (right) in the circles of the Star Wars family in 1978

(photo: Reuters)

After all the "Star Wars"Alumni sat in the exhibition hall at the booths and signed autographs in the chord, because such a Hollywood event, is of course not a charity concert. The caste system within the star war universe, it became clear. A dedication plus a signature of Mark Hamill at a cost of 120 Euro, the signature of Carrie Fisher 70 -, and Chewbacca was there already for 35 euros. Since Mayhew, who was already on the floor was sitting, but even Sitting all the upcoming Fans, overlooked, and under a autograph card wrote get tired after the other. It must have been in the course of the Afternoon, hundreds, the snake stopped. Has it annoyed the duration of exploitation, always the old stories, the same, the eternal Fangeheul? No, never, he said again and again, in food and elsewhere: "Star Wars is the Best thing that ever happened to me."

Peter Mayhew was born in 1944 in London and initially had no career in the entertainment industry in mind. As a young man he worked as a nurse in London's King's College Hospital. But then the film producer Charles H. Schneer was aware of him, discovered the giant on a photo, and for his adventure film "Sinbad and the eye of the tiger" (1977) recruited - Mayhew played the Minotaur.

Peter Mayhew in his most famous role, with Harrison Ford as "Han Solo".

(photo: AP)

in the same year he moved from the old Greek into the modern Blockbuster-mythology, as an obsessive young man named George Lucas in England a spectacle turned, by the then hardly any believed that it will later be of interest to someone. Jedis? Wookiees? The British Crew turned up the collective nose. But Mayhew immediately fell in love with his role, because this is Chewbacca, co-pilot and best friend of the space rogue Han Solo was a giant such as he. But he was not suffered as a result of its size, quite the contrary, he regarded it as a gift. Chewbacca was a self-conscious, self-deprecating guy, and his whims with a noisy tubes in the world blew up, which is hard to transcribe, a kind of "RRWWWGG!".

The role led to Mayhew, of Chewbacca played in five of the "Star Wars"films and, most recently, as he didn't manage the rigors of a Blockbuster shoot, his Chewbacca-successor Joonas Suotamo lovingly as a consultant, supervised, also private with his stature aussöhnte: "I like my bird's-eye view. I think it is exactly what gives Chewie his Pride, his size, the size of his heart."

told his family, Peter Mayhew, the friendliest giant of film history, died on Tuesday at the age of 74 years at his estate in Texas.

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