The public perception of Harrison Ford is that he’s not a terribly sentimental guy—bordering on stand-offish, or even gruff. But of course, when we see Ford emotionally react to things, it’s usually in the process of talking to the press, a scenario that he’s famously not the hugest fan of. (Especially when the attention-demanding Star Wars franchise is involved.) Ford let the world see a much softer, and much more tender, side of his personality today, though, in honor of the death of his friend and long-time co-star, Peter Mayhew.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ford talked about Mayhew’s “great dignity and noble character,” writing that, “We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him”:
Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience. Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend….
Mayhew’s other Star Wars co-stars shared their own memories of working with the actor today, including Mark Hamill, who, like Ford, appeared with him in four of the franchise’s films:
People have also been sharing old archival images of the 7'2" Mayhew as he towered over, and frequently carried, the 5'1" Carrie Fisher. Mayhew wrote his own loving tribute to Fisher back in 2016, shortly after her death.