Actor Peter Mayhew may have passed away, but his impact on Star Wars fans will never be forgotten.
Mayhew was born on May 19, 1944, in Barnes, Surrey, England. The 7’3” actor was diagnosed with gigantism at the age of 8. He started playing Chewbacca in “A New Hope” in 1977 and continued to reprise his role as the loveable Wookiee in all of Chewbacca’s live-action appearances until he retired with 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”
Sadly, Mayhew passed away of a heart attack on April 30, 2019, at his home in Boyd, Texas, only three weeks before his 75th birthday.
On his birthday, Mark Hamill, who costarred alongside Mayhew as Luke Skywalker, took to Twitter to pay his respects.
Mark Hamill Wishes Late Friend Peter Mayhew A Happy Birthday
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) May 20, 2022
The Joker voice actor from the “Batman” animated series retweeted a Star Wars fan account birthday tribute that read, “Happy birthday to the legend Peter Mayhew! The actor was born on this day in 1944. May the Force be with you, always!”
Mark added, “Easily one of the kindest men I’ve ever known.#HB_Peter 🎂❤️” Many fans also piled on the post to wish Peter a happy birthday as well.
Happy birthday to the legend Peter Mayhew | 1944 – 2019 – Chewbacca pic.twitter.com/gMNxKJH0O6
— Joan Marc | Galaxy’s Corner (@JoanMarcF) May 19, 2022
The Peter Mayhew Foundation Remembers The Late Chewbacca
Today we celebrate what would have been Peter’s 79th birthday. Peter loved his fans, but especially he loved kids. In this video Obi-Wan himself @JATactor recalls the time Peter spent with his daughter during Star Wars Weekends. Happy Birthday Peter, we miss you every day. pic.twitter.com/43ywh6dkar
— Mayhew Foundation 🔜 SW:C (@TheWookieeRoars) May 19, 2022
The Peter Mayhew Foundation is run by his widow, Angelique Mayhew, whom he married in 1999. On what would have been his 79th birthday, she tweeted, “Today we celebrate what would have been Peter’s 79th birthday. Peter loved his fans, but especially he loved kids. In this video Obi-Wan himself @JATactor recalls the time Peter spent with his daughter during Star Wars Weekends. Happy Birthday Peter, we miss you every day.”
The official Star Wars account also linked to the Peter Mayhew Foundation.
On this day in 1944, Peter Mayhew was born.
— Star Wars (@starwars) May 19, 2022
They tweeted, “On this day in 1944, Peter Mayhew was born” and attached a behind-the-scenes photo of the late Mayhew on the set of “The Empire Strikes Back,” calling Chewbacca “the original walking carpet.”
As it says on their website:
“The Peter Mayhew Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to the alleviation of disease, pain, suffering, and the financial toll brought on by life’s traumatic events. By providing its available resources directly to deserving children and adults in need, we assist numerous charitable organizations in order to promote and boost their effectiveness and provide support where needed.”
Fans Pay Tribute To Chewbacca & The Late Princess, Carrie Fisher
R.I.P and Happy Birthday to Peter Mayhew. Say hi to the princess for me. pic.twitter.com/KewIicTefH
— TooFurious4 (@Too_Furious4) May 19, 2022
Many fans paid tribute not only to the late Mayhew, but also to the late Carrie Fisher, who passed away in 2016. Fisher was best known for playing Princess Leia Organa, and later, General Organa, in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Unfortunately, she passed away before filming could begin on 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker,” making 2017’s controversial “The Last Jedi,” her last on-screen appearance.
On what would have been Peter Mayhew’s 78th birthday, it’s time to get to the bottom of one of #StarWars‘ great mysteries: If you’ve ever wondered what Chewie sounds like to Han, crank up the volume and wonder no longer! @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/tOwL7PRAys
— Marshall Julius 🇺🇦 (@MarshallJulius) May 19, 2022
Another fan remembered the late Peter Mayhew with a hysterical clip of Chewbacca and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). They tweeted, “On what would have been Peter Mayhew’s 78th birthday, it’s time to get to the bottom of one of #StarWars’ great mysteries: If you’ve ever wondered what Chewie sounds like to Han, crank up the volume and wonder no longer!”