Where Aren t They Now?: 5 Post-Star Wars Careers Almost as Pathetic as Mark Hamill's

Peter Mayhew

The character:
Wookie smuggler Chewbacca

The actor:
He's tall. Peter Mayhew is a goddamned 7-foot-3 inches. That's two Tom Cruises. If we're going to be totally honest here, that was the main contributor to him landing the role of Chewie. OK, the only contributor. In Mayhew's own words, "All I had to do was stand up."

Before Star Wars, Mayhew worked primarily as a hospital orderly in London. Unconfirmed reports say he was dismissed after his height, bony stature, and penchant for bringing a sickle to work caused a number of elderly patients to rip out their IV solution bags and run screaming for the street.

Inestimable contribution to the films:
Try to imagine Chewbacca, only about two feet shorter. Mayhew's freakish height is the only thing separating Chewbacca from a damned Ewok. Seriously, picture short Chewie in your head. Mayhew was the only thing keeping that costume from being laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

Most memorable line:
"AAGGGRAAAHHRRGG!"

Best Youtube video featuring character:
It's technically only a reference to the character, but the following video of a man (possibly) afflicted with honest-to-goodness Tourette's syndrome invites you to imagine Chewie in a whole new light. It's about one minute in and, since we're talking about Tourette's here, you should not crank up the sound if you're at work:

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
This costume that will make your child look like a tiny, partially-shaved Chewbacca:

You have to make sure you kid doesn't charge around growling and breaking stuff after Halloween is over, or else you'll get a call from the school about some prescriptions you need to go pick up.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"Chewbacca's voice is a combination of several animals, including bears, badgers, walruses, cats and camels."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"He received his first acting job in 1977 when the producers of the movie Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger discovered Mayhew from a photograph in a newspaper article about men with large feet, and they cast him in the role of the minotaur. "

Where is he now?
Mayhew voiced the character Susha in Dragonball: GT and is all set to appear in Yesterday Was a Lie, a fantasy sci-fi noir movie about quantum physics, Jungian psychology, and whatever else they manage to cram in. Fans of Chewie who were disappointed to see him gypped out of a hero's medal at the end of Episode IV will also be glad to note that he was ceremoniously given one as part of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards in 1997.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 35
Since most fans don't know his face, Mayhew actually has the advantage of getting to choose when he's mobbed by geeks (he wears the above Chewbacca T-shirt for those occasions) and when he's merely gawked at as a horribly tall freak. So, he has that.

On the other hand, his one claim to fame was playing an almost non-speaking role in a sweaty fur suit, which means he was only a few steps above a college football mascot.

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