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In sadder news for the start of 2012, the world has lost a talented swordsman. Olympic fencer Bob Anderson passed away this week at the age of 89. While you may not recognize his name right away, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with his work, especially if you’ve seen the original Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl .
Entertainment Weekly posted the unfortunate news, listing the British Academy of Fencing as the source, stating that Anderson died on New Year’s Day at a hospital in England. The English fencer’s achievements not only include representing Great Britain in the 1952 Olympics, but going on to lend his expertise to the movie industry by staging some extremely memorable sword-fighting scenes, including Star Wars, The Princess Bride and the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers. And among the slightly less adventurous films on his list of credits, he's also credited as a “fencing consultant” for The Parent Trap (1998), which, you may recall, had two young Lindsay Lohans dueling at summer camp just before discovering they were facing off against their twin.
EW says Anderson went on to become one of the movie industry’s “most sought after sword masters,” and given his list of credits, it’s not difficult to believe that. The site also mentions a 1983 interview with Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, which reveals that Bob Anderson actually did Vader’s fighting in (two of the three) original Star Wars films.
“It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn’t think it was fair any more,” Hamill told Starlog magazine. “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.”
Given how many great movies Anderson’s been involved with, the man’s contributions to film through his knowledge of fencing will not soon be forgotten.
Someone by the username Mkentera007 compiled these videos showcasing Bob Anderson’s work in film and posted them on Youtube, which you can view below.