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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 26, 1977
- Vol. 8
- No. 13
Unzipped from His Wookie Suit, Peter Mayhew of Star Wars Is Zapped into Near Penury
Peter was cast not only for his bulk (out of wookie suit, he's a mere 7'2") but also for his screen experience as the minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Golden Tiger. He shot Star Wars on a 12-week leave from the hospital, where he's toiled since 1961. The producers paid him $450 a week, but he did not get a piece of the action that's now pushing $150 million.
It says High & Mighty in his clothes, but that has nothing to do with Peter's post-postmovie airs—it's the label of London's only shop that can fit the chap who claims to be "about the third tallest man in Britain." The son of a 6'1" policeman-turned-cabbie, Mayhew reports, "Safe to say, I was never bullied in school." Life has been harder since. "London's buses are a disaster. Telephone booths are sheer murder—the receiver seems like it's down around my knees." In movie houses, out of deference to everyone but his lady friends, he politely scrunches into the back row.
As for taking a back seat in the Star Wars proceeds and glory, Peter is uncomplaining, even though he missed out when those two hardware heartthrobs R2-D2 and C-3PO implanted their feet in the hallowed cement at the old Grauman's Chinese Theater. (Many of Mayhew's English mates, who did 90 percent of the film's donkey work, are miffed that it is being called a Hollywood triumph when most of the shooting took place there and in Tunisia.) Mayhew isn't making any wookie growls about the injustice of it all, though, because, along with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, he has been lined up for the sequel. That means a year from now Peter will be relaunched out of the bedpans and into the star fire.
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