Swordmaster who played Darth Vader dies at 89

first_imgSad news today for Star Wars fans the world over. British fencer Bob Anderson, the man behind the Vader mask during the epic lightsaber battles in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi has passed away. Along with his work on Star Wars, Anderson was the also the sword master for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.In typical George Lucas style, the fact that Anderson was the talent that brought scenes like the duel between Luke and Darth Vader in Cloud City during Empire was supposed to be kept a secret. Lucas was fanatical about keeping up the appearance that all of Vader’s scenes in the movie were done by one person. However the man who played Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, decided this wasn’t fair (perhaps he felt the Light Side telling him to do the right thing). He felt Anderson’s contributions to both films were too large to go unappreciated.In a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine, Hamill “outed” Anderson as the actor and architect of his characters fight scenes with Darth Vader. Hamill thought too much of Anderson to let his name go without credit for the movies. Arguably, his fight scenes are some of the most memorable parts of both films. While working on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are big accomplishments, Andersons career did not start in the movie industry.Born in Hampshire, southern England, in 1922, Anderson served as a Royal Marine for queen and crown during World War Two. After surviving the global conflict, he went on to compete in the 1952 Olympics on the English fencing team. Also of note is that he competed for the world fencing championships in 1950 and 1953. It makes sense as to why Lucas and Jackson would want him for their films after seeing the amount of real-world experience he had.Fans can view his work in other films like The Princess Bride, Die Another Day and The Legend of Zorro.Read more at ESPN.comlast_img read more