We can only hope our names will someday be followed by the title of SWORDMASTER.
Bob Anderson, swordmaster and fight choreographer on some really great films, has died at the age of 89. You may remember him as the guy under the Darth Vader mask in all the swordplay scenes in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, even though David Prowse was credited with those scenes until Mark Hamill spoke up for Anderson in a 1983 interview. At the time, Hamill told Starlog magazine, “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 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.”
In addition to his work in Star Wars, Anderson also did sword fighting choreography for The Princess Bride, Highlander, Pirates of the Caribbean, two Bond movies, two Zorro movies, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The clip below is related to his work on Lord of the Rings. Taken from the 2009 documentary Reclaiming the Blade, the clip includes Viggo Mortensen discussing being coached by Anderson and Anderson himself talking about his swordmastery.
Anderson joined the Royal Marines before WWII and taught fencing aboard warships, which sounds totally badass. His first foray into film was coaching Errol Flynn for The Master of Ballantrae (1952). Yeah, he taught Errol Flynn how to have more swagger. He also represented England at the Olympics and coached their national fencing team for two decades. He was cooler than you.