Gosport born fencer who became movie star passes away

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OLYMPIC fencer and movie sword master Bob Anderson, who fought Darth Vader’s light sabre battles and appeared in some of Hollywood’s most famous duelling scenes, has died at 89.

Former Royal Marine Bob Anderson, who was born in Gosport, wielded the light sabre in two of the three original Star Wars films – The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi.

Anderson worked with actors from Errol Flynn to Antonio Banderas during five decades as a sword master, fight director and stunt performer.

He died early on New Year’s Day at a hospital in West Sussex, the British Academy of Fencing said.

Vader, Star Wars’ intergalactic arch-villain, was voiced by James Earl Jones and played by 6ft 6in former weightlifter David Prowse, but Anderson stepped in during the key fight scenes.

‘Prowse wasn’t very good with a sword and Bob couldn’t get him to do the moves,’ said Anderson’s former assistant, Leon Hill.

‘Fortunately Bob could just don the costume and do it himself.’

The scenes worked beautifully, although Anderson, then nearing 60, was several inches shorter than Prowse.