Skip to main content

'Star Wars' sword master dead at 89

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 9:28 AM EST, Wed January 4, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bob Anderson's early film credits include stunt double, fencing coach for Errol Flynn
  • He's best known for performing Darth Vader's 'Star Wars' swordfight
  • British fencing president calls him "one of our greatest fencing masters"
  • Anderson competed for Britain in the 1952 Olympics

(CNN) -- Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson, the man who wielded Darth Vader's light saber, died Sunday at 89, according to the British Academy of Fencing.

Anderson's film work began when he was a swordfight stunt double and coach for Errol Flynn in the 1953 movie "Master of Balantree," but perhaps his best-known job was when he put on Vader's helmet in "Star Wars" for the famous duel with Luke Skywalker, according to the Internet Movie Database.

He represented Britain in the 1952 Olympic fencing competition, according to the 2009 documentary "Reclaiming the Blade."

"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," Philip Bruce, president of the British Academy of Fencing.

Anderson "passed away peacefully this morning at 4 a.m. in hospital," Bruce said in a posting on his group's website.

He also served as swordmaster and trained the lead actors in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Pirates of the Caribbean," according to IMDb.com.

His credits include the 1993 remake of "The Three Musketeers," "The Mask of Zorro," "The Legend of Zorro," "Die Another Day," "The Princess Bride" and "The Parent Trap."

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT