Peter Mayhew was working as a hospital porter in Croydon when an article about the town’s largest residents was spotted by a Hollywood producer. And while the film in question (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger) is lost to history, it got him a role in a slightly more significant work: Star Wars. Mayhew’s audition was allegedly quite simple: stand next to David Prowse and be taller than him. Mayhew’s 7ft 3″ frame (the result of an overactive pituitary gland) easily dwarfed the hulking Green Cross Code man, and a career as Chewbacca began.
Mayhew played Chewie – who he described as being Hans Solo’s “teddy bear” – in the original trilogy, as well as the third prequel and 2015’s The Force Awakens. Ill-health kept him out of The Last Jedi, and boy howdy you talk about missing a bullet. He moved to Texas in 2000 to marry a fangirl he’d met at a Star Wars convention, where he’s now died.