Peter Mayhew has died, his family announced today. The original Chewbacca actor passed away April 30 at his Texas home, they said in a statement tweeted from his Twitter account:
He’s survived by his wife Angie and three children. The family asks that, instead of gifts, fans consider donations to the Peter Mayhew Foundation.
Mayhew originated the role of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy. He returned in Revenge of the Sith and in some scenes of The Force Awakens, where he taught and passed the role to Joonas Suotamo.
Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz died Sunday from cancer, his family has announced. He was 78.
Kurtz produced American Grafitti, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back with George Lucas. He also produced The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz. Kurtz has become a somewhat controversial figure where it comes to the mythos of making Star Wars. Chris Taylor has an interesting interview with him from 2014.
StarWars.com has posted an obit, and there are more remembrances below.
Carrie Fisher has passed away after her heart attack last week, People reports based on a statement from her daughter, Billie Lourd.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.
“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy: “Carrie holds such special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her. She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.”
George Lucas: “Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger: “Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence.”
Mark Hamill: “It’s never easy to lose such a vital, irreplaceable member of the family, but this is downright heartbreaking. Carrie was one-of-a-kind who belonged to us all- whether she liked it or not. She was OUR Princess, damn it, & the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent & ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined & tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her & want her to succeed & be happy. She played such a crucial role in my professional & personal life, & both would have been far emptier without her. I am grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness & even the bratty, self-indulgent crap my beloved space-twin gave me through the years. Thanks Carrie. I love you, mh”
Harrison Ford: “Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely… My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.”
Daisy Ridley: “Devastated at this monumental loss. How lucky we all are to have known her, and how awful that we have to say goodbye.”
Oscar Isaac: “She had no patience for pretense or small talk. She saw through things, at a different angle, with the gritty wisdom that comes from the hardest lessons. And, man, did she make me laugh.”
Kenny Baker, the actor who played Artoo, has died at the age of 81. The 3 foot, 8 inch actor was the man inside the droid for the original and prequel trilogies. He also played Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and appeared in Time Bandits and Flash Gordon
Baker has been ill for some time. “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life,” his niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian. “He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
Peter Mayhew posted “a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart” on Chewbacca.com on Monday.
“Goodbye #KennyBaker,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Fellow actors Ewan McGregor and Warwick Davis also posted remembrances on Twitter.
George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy spoke about Baker on StarWars.com. Lucas calls him “a real gentleman” and “an incredible trooper,” while Kennedy says “There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.”
Actor Khan Bonfils, who played Jedi Master Saesee Tiin in The Phantom Menace, has died. Bonfils was in rehersals for Dante’s Inferno with the Craft Theatre company when he collapsed yesterday and could not be resuscitated, according to The Independent.
In addition to The Phantom Menace, Bonfils had appeared in Skyfall, Batman Begins, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life.
Aaron Allston is one of Cracked’s overlooked deaths of 2014. Sure, he may not be overlooked to us, but the mainstream is another matter. And, as another Jader pointed out, he’d get a huge kick out of being described as “author of Star Wars storylines J.J. Abrams will probably disregard.” Yub yub, Emperor.