Peter Mayhew (1929-1980)

Peter Mayhew was a film editor with many credits to his name, the most well-known of which was a popular 1955 feature film “The Colditz Story” a British stiff-upper-lip war drama laced with a little comedy.  He was also my father, a gentle man who loved life, had a strong sense of social justice and a very dry sense of humour.  The actor who played ‘Chewbacca’ in the Star Wars films shared the same name and I know my father would appreciate that an extensive entry on the IMD website lists him as Peter Mayhew (I)[i] with the man in the ‘Wookie’ suit listed as Peter Mayhew (II). 

Group of people working in film editing cutting rooms
Peter Mayhew (centre) at work (mid 1960s) | from the private collection of Natalie Mayhew

My father died suddenly in 1980 aged just 51.  I knew little about his early life, except that he had been evacuated with his older brother and sister to Funtington, near Chichester, where he had been very happy.  After the war was over, he never returned to live with his birth parents but took up a somewhat unconventional lifestyle in West London whilst pursuing his career in the film industry.   Of course, I was quite young when he died, so didn’t really have a chance to get to know him, but I’d like my children and grandchildren to try to understand his story and perhaps one day appreciate how one decision can impact down through the years and still influence our own path through life.   

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[i] last accessed 21 Oct 2021