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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England seeall's Avatar
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    BobAnderson.jpeg
    LONDON via ESPN -- Olympic fencer and movie sword master Bob Anderson
    appeared in some of film's most famous dueling scenes -- though few
    viewers knew it.
    Anderson, who has died at age 89, donned Darth Vader's black helmet
    and fought light saber battles in two of the three original "Star
    Wars" films, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."
    Anderson, who worked with actors from Errol Flynn to Antonio Banderas
    during five decades as a sword master, fight director and stunt
    performer, died early New Year's Day at an English hospital, the
    British Academy of Fencing said Monday.
    Vader, "Star Wars" intergalactic arch-villain, was voiced by James
    Earl Jones and played by 6-foot-6 former weightlifter David Prowse,
    but Anderson stepped in during the key fight scenes.
    "David 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.
    Few knew of Anderson's role until Mark Hamill, who played Luke
    Skywalker, said in a 1983 interview that "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," Hamill told Starlog
    magazine, referring to the legendary director and producer. "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."
    Robert James Gilbert Anderson was born in Hampshire, southern England,
    in 1922, and was drawn to fencing from an early age.
    "I never took up the sword," he said in an interview for the 2009
    documentary "Reclaiming the Blade." "I think the sword took me up."
    Anderson joined the Royal Marines before World War II, teaching
    fencing aboard warships and winning several combined services titles
    in the sport.
    He served in the Mediterranean during the war, later trained as a
    fencing coach and represented Britain at the 1952 Olympics and the
    1950 and 1953 world championships.
    In the 1950s, Anderson became coach of Britain's national fencing
    team, a post he held until the late 1970s. He later served as
    technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association.
    His first film work was staging fights and coaching Flynn on
    swashbuckler "The Master of Ballantrae" in 1952.
    He went on to become one of the industry's most sought after stunt
    performers, fight choreographers and sword masters, working on movies
    including the James Bond adventures "From Russia With Love" and "Die
    Another Day"; fantasy "The Princess Bride"; Banderas action romps "The
    Mask of Zorro" and "The Legend of Zorro"; and the "Lord of the Rings"
    trilogy.
    Fencing academy president Philip Bruce said Anderson was "truly one of
    our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and
    choreographer."
    Hill remembered him as "a splendid man, a great man who gave so much
    to fencing that can never be repaid."
    Anderson is survived by his wife Pearl and three children.

    Citation.
    British Academy of Fencing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: England sidney bliss's Avatar
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    R.I.P Bob Anderson. Hollywood owes you a great deal.

    BBC News - British Darth Vader fighter dies aged 89

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    From the Guardian

    Bob Anderson obituary | Film | The Guardian

    Nick

    Bob Anderson obituary
    'Swordmaster' and stunt double who fenced with Errol Flynn and swung the lightsaber for Darth Vader
    Ronald Bergan
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 4 January 2012 15.57 GMT


    As a stunt double, Bob Anderson, who has died aged 89, was among the many unsung, unknown, uncredited and partially unseen performers of motion pictures whose purpose is to remain anonymous while making the star look athletic, acrobatic, courageous or devil-may-care. For those in the business, Anderson reigned supreme in the fencing department, earning the title of "swordmaster". Given the partly Japanese genesis of the Star Wars franchise, it was an apt description of the man who wielded the lightsaber for Darth Vader in his duels in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

    In 1983 Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, blew Anderson's cover in an 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 [Lucas, the creator] 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." But Anderson had been quite happy to remain out of the spotlight ever since he entered the film industry as the fencing coach and stunt double opponent to Errol Flynn in The Master of Ballantrae (1953).

    Born in Gosport, Hampshire, Anderson followed his father into the Royal Marines in his early 20s. In September 1942, he was one of the survivors when HMS Coventry was badly damaged in the eastern Mediterranean by German dive-bombers. After the second world war, Anderson, who had taken up fencing at a very young age, taught the sport as an instructor for the services. He won competitions with all four weapons – foil, sabre, �p�e and bayonet – and represented Britain at the Olympics in Helsinki in 1952. It was while waiting to compete there that he was asked to go to Pinewood Studios to work with Flynn on The Master of Ballantrae.

    "I arranged the fights and in the action sequences I doubled almost everyone who fought Flynn," he recalled. "I doubled five actors in that film and when it was cut together, one sequence showed me killing myself because I had doubled two actors who actually had a fight together." At one stage during rehearsals, Anderson slashed Flynn in the thigh by accident, drawing blood, while the star was being distracted by a passing beauty. This led to Anderson's reputation among Hollywood insiders as "the man who stabbed Errol Flynn".

    At the time, Flynn, once the top swashbuckling star of sound cinema, had begun to show the results of alcohol and drug abuse that left him prematurely aged and bloated at 44. But Anderson's fight choreography helped to show that Flynn still had some energy left. He swashed his last buckler in the Italian-made Crossed Swords (1954), with Anderson once again doubling for his adversaries.

    In the meantime, Anderson became national fencing coach of the British team, a position he held for nearly 30 years, while he considered films a part-time job. He summed up his work as a fight arranger as "riposte and counter-riposte, that's the way to build up the sequence. It's like a dance sequence. You do this first by seeing the director and finding out how long he wants the fight. Once you've got the ideas from the director, you then have to sit down and use your knowledge of the fencing skills and create a fight sequence that will not only fit into the set and give the director what he wants, but also be exciting and a good portrayal of characters."

    But nothing was as straightforward as it sounds. In Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975), Anderson had to make Ryan O'Neal, "who had become a very good swordsman under my coaching", look less good than his opponent, who was supposed to be an expert. In The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, David Prowse was credited with playing Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones). However, when Vader confronts Skywalker in their laser-sword fights, it was Anderson, in the distinctive black disguise reminiscent of a medieval samurai, who faced Hamill because the bodybuilder Prowse, despite coaching, could not fence. As Prowse was 6ft 5in tall, the 6ft 1in Anderson had to wear lifts in his shoes.

    One of the most spectacular sword fights choreographed by Anderson was the duel between Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride (1987), which starts with them fighting left-handed until they reveal the secret that they are both right-handed, and change positions accordingly. This was done with a little help from special effects.

    In fact, computer-generated imagery gradually began to take away much of the concealed glory of the stunt double. Nevertheless, Anderson still had to train actors in swordsmanship for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. He was particularly proud of Viggo Mortensen, as Aragorn, whom he described as "the best swordsman I've ever trained".

    Others who benefited from Anderson's coaching were Michael Caine in Kidnapped (1971), Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery in Highlander (1986) and Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro (1998). He also put Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt and Chris O'Donnell through their paces for The Three Musketeers (1993). Anderson retired as senior British coach in 1979. He and his wife, Pearl, emigrated to Ontario, Canada, where he served as technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association.

    He is survived by Pearl and three children.

    • Robert James Gilbert Anderson, stunt double and fencer, born 15 September 1922; died 1 January 2012

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Bob Anderson: Fencer and fight arranger for Bond and 'Star Wars'

    by Martin Childs

    INDEPENDENT
    Bob Anderson: Fencer and fight arranger for Bond and 'Star Wars' - Obituaries - News - The Independent

    Tuesday 31 January 2012


    Bob Anderson was a Royal Marine and British Olympian who went on to become one of the most sought-after fencing choreographers and film fight directors. Over nearly 60 years he worked with the likes of Errol Flynn, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas and staged some of film's most famous duelling scenes. But few were aware of the influence he had on some of Hollywood's favourite films.

    An expert in medieval weaponry, Anderson worked on many blockbusters, including the choreographed fights in the Bond adventures From Russia with Love and Die Another Day, the Zorro films, Highlander and Pirates of the Caribbean. For the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he developed sword techniques for the different races according to Tolkien's descriptions.

    His defining moment and most famous performance came when he played Darth Vader, donning the iconic black helmet and cloak during the light-sabre fight scenes against Luke Skywalker in two of the three original Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In Empire, it is Anderson who severs the right hand of Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, in the climactic scene where Vader reveals to Luke, "I am your father."

    In the non-fight scenes, the villainous character was famously played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones. Anderson stepped in during the fight scenes because, according to his assistant Leon Hill, "David Prowse wasn't very good with a sword and Bob couldn't get him to do the moves." Although he was nearly 60, and shorter than the 6ft 6in Prowse, the scenes were faultless, despite the fact that Anderson had to wear lifts for extra height.

    Initially, at George Lucas's request, Anderson's role was not publicised. However, having told Lucas that it was unfair to keep his contribution secret, in a 1983 interview Hamill revealed: "Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader's fighting. 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."

    Born in Alverstoke, Hampshire in 1922, Robert James Gilbert Anderson served in the War with the Royal Marines, where he learnt to fence. He went on to win a number of combined-services titles in all three of the sport's categories, foil, �p�e and sabre. Following five podium finishes at the 1950 British Empire Games, Anderson represent Britain in two World Championships and the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where the team finished joint fifth in the sabre. After the marines he became British national coach and led it to six consecutive Olympic Games, including silver-medal-winning appearances in Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.

    During the 1960s and '70s, Anderson became president of the British Academy of Fencing, which oversees the training of fencing coaches in the UK. The Academy said: "It is true to say that nearly 100 per cent of fencing in Britain today is directly or indirectly attributable to the work of this man." He later served as technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association.

    Anderson's first foray into film was as a fight choreographer and stunt double in the 1953 swashbuckler The Master of Ballantrae, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of an 18th-century lord (Errol Flynn) who takes to piracy. While rehearsing one duel on location in Sicily, Anderson accidentally nicked Flynn on the thigh. Although Flynn claimed responsibility for the mistake, for a short time around Hollywood film sets Anderson was referred to as "the man who stabbed Errol Flynn".

    "The sword is the ultimate weapon," he once said. "It's not so threatening shooting at someone 20 or 30 paces away or while hiding behind things. When you get into a sword fight, you're standing toe-to-toe with someone who's trying to kill you and you're looking him in the eye � now that's thrilling."

    Soon Anderson was in demand. He did stunts in The Guns of Navarone (1961), Casino Royale (1967) and Superman II (1980) and coached some of Hollywood's finest, including Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland for the 1993 remake of The Three Musketeers and Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). He also taught swordsmanship to Banderas, Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones for the Zorro franchise. Director Martin Campbell said, "We used to call him Grumpy Bob on the set, he was such a perfectionist... He also refused to treat any of the actors as stars. They would complain about the intensity of the training, but having worked with him there's nobody I'd rather use."

    The Fencing Academy president Philip Bruce said Anderson was "truly one of our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and choreographer."

    Robert Anderson, fencer, fencing coach and fight choreographer: born Gosport, Hampshire 15 September 1922; married Pearl (three children); died West Sussex 1 January 2012.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    From the BBC

    BBC News - Been and Gone: Farewell to the genius behind Star Wars' lightsaber action

    Been and Gone: Farewell to the genius behind Star Wars' lightsaber action
    By Nick Serpell
    Obituary Editor, BBC News

    From the swash and buckle of Errol Flynn to the flashing lightsabers of Star Wars, some of cinema's greatest sword fights were choreographed by British Olympic fencer Bob Anderson. His career began in the 1950s when he coached a host of Hollywood actors, often acting as their stunt double. Thanks to skilful editing, he was sometimes seen in a fight to the death with himself. In the climax of The Empire Strikes Back, it was Anderson wearing the Darth Vader costume who cuts off Luke Skywalker's hand while the voice of James Earl Jones intones "I am your father". He was responsible for the sword play in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was working on The Hobbit when he died. A noted perfectionist, he believed the sword was far superior to the gun: "When you get into a sword fight, you're standing toe-to-toe with someone who's trying to kill you and you're looking him in the eye - now that's thrilling."

  6. #6
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    Bob Anderson.R.I.P.

    Alan French.

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