'Star Wars': Men Behind the Masks
Star Wars Men Behind the Mask
Peter Mayhew – Chewbacca
While working as a hospital orderly in London, the 7-foot-3 Mayhew was spotted by a producer who cast him in "Sinbad & the Eye of the Tiger" (1977). When Mayhew attended a casting call for "Star Wars," he got the job the moment he stood up to shake Lucas's hand. Mayhew was actually offered both the part of Darth Vader and the 200-year-old Wookie, Chewbacca (Lucas got the idea for a gentle, hairy, non-English-speaking co-pilot when he saw his dog, an Alaskan malamute, sitting in the passenger seat of a car). Mayhew chose the latter because he wanted to play a hero. He's been playing that hero, in four of the six films and on the convention circuit, ever since.