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calendar   Tuesday - January 03, 2012

A post without riposteI

Darth Vader Is Dead

Well, not Darth exactly. Just the guy who put on his mask and did all his sword fighting. And who happened to be the best cut and thrust choreographer in Hollywood history.

WWII Vet, British Olympian, Foremost Fencing Choreographer Robert Anderson, 89

Great Britain Olympic fencer and movie sword master Bob Anderson died in New York on Monday aged 89.

He took part in the 1952 Olympics and the 1950 and 1953 World Championships. Anderson later wore Darth Vader’s black helmet to fight lightsaber battles in two of the first three Star Wars films.

Anderson, who worked with actors from Errol Flynn to Antonio Banderas during five decades as a sword master, fight director and stunt performer, died early New Year’s Day at an English hospital, the British Academy of Fencing said Monday.
...
Anderson, who has died at age 89, donned Darth Vader’s black helmet and fought light saber battles in two of the three original “Star Wars” films, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
...
The scenes worked beautifully, although Anderson, then nearing 60, was several inches shorter than Prowse.

Few knew of Anderson’s role until Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, said in a 1983 interview that “Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader’s fighting.”

Robert James Gilbert Anderson was born in Hampshire, southern England, in 1922, and was drawn to fencing from an early age.

“I never took up the sword,” he said in an interview for the 2009 documentary “Reclaiming the Blade.” “I think the sword took me up.”

Anderson joined the Royal Marines before World War II, teaching fencing aboard warships and winning several combined services titles in the sport. He served in the Mediterranean during the war, later trained as a fencing coach and represented Britain at the 1952 Olympics and the 1950 and 1953 world championships. In the 1950s, Anderson became coach of Britain’s national fencing team, a post he held until the late 1970s. He later served as technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association. His first film work was staging fights and coaching Flynn on swashbuckler “The Master of Ballantrae” in 1952.

He went on to become one of the industry’s most sought after stunt performers, fight choreographers and sword masters, working on movies including the James Bond adventures “From Russia With Love” and “Die Another Day”; fantasy “The Princess Bride”; Banderas action romps “The Mask of Zorro” and “The Legend of Zorro”; and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. [ Drew: not to mention all the “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Highlander” (film and TV versions), and that Lindsay Lohan magnum opus “The Parent Trap” ]

Fencing academy president Philip Bruce said Anderson was “truly one of our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and choreographer.”

Fencers and others who play seriously with swords will sit through yet another viewing of The Princess Bride just to watch the sword fights, especially the one between Inigo Montoya and the mysterious Man In Black (aka the Dread Pirate Roberts), even though it was obviously played for laughs. It really is one of the best ever filmed. Bob Anderson will be missed. Prime, seconde, septime, and octave (the defensive parries*) will never be quite the same.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/03/2012 at 02:11 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesHollywoodUK •  
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