Sword Master Bob Anderson Has Died

Legendary fight trainer was 89

Sword Master Bob Anderson Has Died

by James White |
Published on

Some sad news to kick off 2012’s movie reporting: the team over at TheOneRing has announced that Bob Anderson, the stunts and sword fighting legend who worked on some of the best cinematic scraps across seven decades, has died at the age of 89.

Having started working with the likes of Errol Flynn, Anderson’s work has been seen by millions of moviegoers. Chances are if you’ve enjoyed great filmic sword action in the last few decades, you were watching something choreographed and fine-tuned by Anderson. His list of credits includes First Knight, several Bond movies, Highlander, the more recent Zorro films and the first Pirates Of The Caribbean outing. He also made the swordplay on The Princess Bride into something special.

But he’s probably best known for his work on two massive trilogies: Star Wars, for which he performed as Darth Vader during lightsaber fights and tutored cast members on their technique, and the L****ord Of The Rings, where he was responsible for crafting fighting moves for a variety of races, including the Hobbits. When Empire talked to the four Hobbit actors for our recent big reunion piece, they all had happy memories of working with the man.

Initially, his contributions to Star Wars were rarely talked about, but Mark Hamill broke the silence in a 1983 interview: "Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader’s fighting. It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told George 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."

Outside of his film work, Anderson was a competitive fencer, representing Great Britain in the 1952 Olympics and at the World Championships in 1950 and 1953. His IMDB page lists him has working on The Hobbit, so expect a tribute from Peter Jackson and co before too long.

According to the British Academy of Fencing, Anderson died peacefully in hospital at 4am on January 1. Our thoughts are with his family.

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