Peter Mayhew is an English-American actor who should be best-known to most people for being the first person to play Chewbacca from the Star Wars franchise. In fact, Mayhew is so associated with the role that the whole course of his career has been determined by it. Here are five facts that interested individuals may or may not have known about Peter Mayhew:
He Is So Tall Because of Marfan Syndrome
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mayhew is very tall. In fact, he stood at 7’3″ at his tallest, which is well above the average height for either English men or American men. However, it is interesting to note that Mayhew’s height isn’t the result of gigantism but rather Marfan syndrome, which causes people to look tall and thin as well as a number of other potential issues. Fortunately, while Marfan syndrome happens in one out of 5,000 to 10,000 people, people with the medical condition can live a normal life with a normal life expectancy so long as they get the proper treatment.
Discovered Because of His Big Feet
Mayhew got his first acting role in 1976 because of his big feet. To be exact, what happened was that the people behind Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger saw a newspaper article about men with big feet, which happened to include a picture of Mayhew in it. As a result, they contacted him, which resulted in Mayhew playing the Minotaur from the fantasy movie.
Has Spent a Lot of Time Visiting Sick Children in Hospitals in Chewbacca Costume
Star Wars fans should be familiar with the fact that Mayhew has appeared in numerous projects in the Star Wars franchise. For example, he has been in five of the eight main installments that have been released so far. However, it is interesting to note that Mayhew did a fair amount of charitable work while dressed up as Chewbacca as well, with an excellent example being how he would visit sick children who were staying in hospitals.
Was Listed As a Chewbacca Consultant in The Last Jedi
Mayhew played Chewbacca part-time in The Force Awakens, with Joonas Suotamo playing the same character the rest of the time. By The Last Jedi, Mayhew had retired from playing Chewbacca because of the same health issues that necessitated Suotamo’s involvement in the previous movie. However, Mayhew was still listed in the credits for the movie as a Chewbacca consultant, which was a very neat term for his continuing involvement with the Star Wars franchise.
Told Joonas Suotamo to Lead with the Chest
It is interesting to note that Mayhew spent a week coaching Suotamo on how to play Chewbacca at what Suotamo called a Chewbacca boot camp. In particular, Suotamo remembers Mayhew telling him to lead with his chest when playing the character, which was necessary because Chewbacca is very proud in personality. Something that makes a fair amount of sense considering that Chewbacca is a seasoned veteran in the Star Wars setting who is still capable of keeping up with the current generation with consummate ease.