Sword-Master Bob Anderson, 89

Olympic fencer Bob Anderson, who also served as a fight director and stunt performer for film for nearly six decades, has died yesterday January 1, in an English hospital the British Academy of Fencing  announced earlier today.

Anderson represented Great Britain in the 1952 Olympics on their fencing team. That same year he helped stage fights in the swashbuckler The Master Of Bellatrae, coaching Errol Flynn on some of the finer points of sword fighting. It was the first of over dozen films he would work on in his career.

Over the 58 years of his career he worked on such films as The Guns Of Navarone (1961), Barry Lyndon (1975), Superman II (1980),  First Knight (1995), The Mask Of Zorro (1998) and its sequel The Legend Of Zorro (2005) and Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy (2001-2003). He also worked on two official installments of the James Bond franchise – From Russia With Love (1963) and Die Another Day (2002) as well as the distaff entry Casino Royale (1967).

Some of Anderson’s most seen work almost went by without the swordsman receiving any credit. Although David Prowse provided the physical acting of the villainous Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, it was Anderson who donned the character’s heavy black suit and played the part for the lightsaber duels seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi when it was determined that Prowse was unable to perform the fights himself. It was trilogy star Mark Hamill who finally revealed Anderson’s role in a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine-

It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) 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 film work, Anderson served as the coach to the British national fencing team from the 1950s until the late 1970s. He later served as technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association.

Via Huffington Post.

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About Rich Drees 7024 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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