'Lord of the Rings' & 'Star Wars' Swordsman Bob Anderson Has Died
At some point in their lives, pretty much everyone on the planet has pretended to wield a sword, lightsaber or some kind of deadly blade in an epic battle to the death. However, Olympic fencer Bob Anderson actually handled swords in real-life as an Olympic fencer and one of the foremost sword-fighting trainers and choreographers in cinema. Sadly, we must report a tragic loss at the beginning of 2012 as TheOneRing.net reports that Anderson, who has worked on such iconic films as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away early this morning at a hospital in the UK.
Anderson's career started nearly 60 years ago when he staged fights for the 1952 Errol Flynn film The Master Of Ballantrae. However, he would go on to choreograph fight scenes in films like From Russia With Love and Die Another Day, The Legend Of Zorro, and The Princess Bride. In his work on Lord of the Rings, it has been said that Anderson crafted several different fighting styles for the various cultures in Tolkien's Middle-Earth, working from the author's descriptions of the characters in the novels. Here's some cut footage from a documentary called Reclaiming the Blade (which you can actually watch on Netflix Instant), in which Viggo Mortensen speaks of the swordsman with the utmost respect:
But perhaps the most honorable achievement in Anderson's career on film is his work on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Not only did Anderson choreograph the iconic lightsaber battles in George Lucas' sci-fi saga, but Mark Hamill finally revealed it was Anderson behind the mask of Darth Vader during those key fight scenes. The actor said, "Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader's fighting. It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told [George Lucas] I didn't think it was fair anymore. 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." So the next time you watch those two sequels, know that there's an amazing swordsman coming down on Luke Skywalker, and he will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.