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Old 01-03-2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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Jan 2009
Default Man behind the Darth Vader saber fight scenes dies

Bob Anderson, the former Olympic fencer and the man behind the sword-fighting scenes in the Darth Vader getup in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi", recently passed away at 89 on New Year's Day in West Sussex, England, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Phillip Bruce, the president of the British Academy of Fencing, confirmed the death of Robert James Gilbert Anderson, who was born in Hampshire, southern England, in 1922, a former English representative in 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games.

He said, "He was truly one of our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and choreographer, and both the fencing community and film world will miss him."

Since 1950s, Anderson or "Grumpy Bob", who was famous for his high expectations and crave for perfectionism, gained recognition in the movie industry as a stunt instructor, stuntman and sword fighting choreographer for movies.

Over several decades, Anderson had contributed to the James Bond franchise alongside Academy Award winner Sean Connery in "From Russia With Love" (1963), in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "Barry Lyndon" (1975), in "Mask Of Zorro" (1998) and "The Legend Of Zorro" (2005) with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and in "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" (2001) with Peter Jackson.

However, Anderson's most famous work would be his portrayal of Darth Vader in the lightsaber fighting scenes with the young Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who turned out to be Vader's son in George Lucas's "Star Wars" trilogy.

David Prowse was the actor who played Darth Vader and James Earl Jones was the voice of the villainous character. Anderson gave a hand to Prowse, who struggled with sword fighting. Despite having smaller size than Prowse and aging at that time, Anderson wore the heavy costume and stepped in to the battle scenes opposite Mark Hamill, whom he also trained. Nevertheless, Anderson was not credited for his effort in Lucas's film.

Mark Hamill decided to reveal the unsung hero's identity in a 1983 interview. "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."

Anderson was survived by his wife, Pearl and three children.
I never knew this...I always thought that it was David Prowse who did the saber fights in the Vader costume.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
Moviefan2k4 Moviefan2k4 is offline
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Mar 2010
Montgomery, TX

Bob Anderson also had a small speaking role in the 1993 "Three Musketeers" movie, as King Louis' fencing instructor. My thoughts and prayers go to his family; I pray he's resting peacefully with God now.

This version is sadly dubbed, but you can find Bob's cameo at the 59:20 mark.

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Old 01-03-2012, 11:50 PM   #3
Rizor Rizor is offline
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Jun 2008

Sad news. He was a legend if you like action adventure movies. I remember opening up a making of Star Wars book when I was about 10 and seeing an image of him practicing with a lightsaber (or rather a rod with a lightsaber handle).
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