Celebs

Chewbacca actor has both knees replaced

Sep. 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM ET

Actor Peter Mayhew, the 7-foot-3-inch actor who played Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" films, underwent double knee-replacement surgery in Texas on Monday, family members posted to his Twitter account.

Mayhew, 69, has been using a wheelchair for two years, but hopes the surgery will help him walk again.

Born the son of a policeman in England, Mayhew says on his website he was discovered as an actor after being featured in an article about men with large feet back in the 1970s. He played the mythological Minotaur in 1977's "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" before coming to international fame as Chewbacca, Han Solo's trusted companion and co-pilot.

IMAGE: Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca
Getty Images, 20th Century Fox
Peter Mayhew, left, in 2012, and at right, playing Chewbacca.

The Mayhews live in Texas, and he regularly attends "Star Wars" conventions and other gatherings.

In June, Mayhew was briefly detained by Transportation Security Administration employees at the Denver airport due to his light saber-shaped cane.

The Mayhews are using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to help fund a documentary about the actor's life, called "Standing in the Stars."

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