Monday, January 2, 2012

Lord Vader (Bob Anderson) is dead

Bob Anderson, the true "master" of the light sabre.
Everyone knows award-winning actor James Earl Jones gave Darth Vader his unforgettable voice in the "Star Wars" movies.

Everyone knows weightlifter David Prowse was the man beneath the costume who made Vader a menacing presence.

Almost no one knows the vital role played by Bob Anderson in creating the legendary character. Anderson, who fought light-sabre battles as Vader in the movies, has passed away at age 89. Even in death, mystery is part of his legacy. Some sources, such as The Daily Beast and The Daily Mail, say Anderson donned the black to do battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars." The Associated Press, however, reports Anderson's fight scenes were part of the sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

For several years, Anderson received no credit at all. In an odd sense of irony, it was Luke Skywalker himself - Mark Hamill - who broke the silence in a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine:

"Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader's fighting. It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn't think it was fair any more. Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It's ridiculous to preserve the myth that it's all done by one man."

Added Anderson's former assistant, Leon Hill: "David Prowse wasn't very good with a sword and Bob couldn't get him to do the moves. Fortunately Bob could just don the costume and do it himself."

Regardless, the former British Olympic swordsman made his mark His career spanned working with Errol Flynn on "The Master of Ballantrae" in 1952 to the James Bond movies "From Russia With Love" and "Die Another Day" to "The Princess Bride," "The Mask of Zorro," "The Legend of Zorro" the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Pirates of the Caribbean."

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