Let’s give a big wookie roar for Peter Mayhew’s birthday! Mayhew was born in London, raised in York, and was working as an attendant (orderly) in a London hospital when film producer Charles Schneer discovered him; Mayhew appeared in a newspaper article about men with big feet, and Scheer saw him towering over everyone else. Mayhew stands an astounding 7’3” tall, so he was a natural choice for the role of Chewbacca, which has largely defined his acting career. Mayhew is quoted as saying, “It’s curious that when you look down at people you see their defects, their irregularities more clearly. I like my bird’s-eye view. I think it’s what gives Chewie his pride, his bigness. Bigness of heart.”
Mayhew, who is now a naturalized U.S. citizen, lives in Texas, and has founded The Peter Mayhew Foundation, a non-profit which is “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.”
In addition to his film and charitable work, Mayhew has written two books, Growing up Giant, which is a graphic novel about growing up in England just after WWII, and about being a young giant; and My Favorite Giant, which is an illustrated book aimed at younger audiences and it depicts the differences between people as strong points, rather than weaknesses.
We wish a very happy 70th birthday to Peter Mayhew, and many good years to come!