back to article Darth Vader dies peacefully in hospital

Master swordsman Bob Anderson, the Hollywood fencing coach who wielded Darth Vader's lightsaber, died peacefully in a West Sussex hospital on Sunday, aged 89. Described as "truly one of our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and choreographer" in a tribute on the British Academy of Fencing's website …


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  1. Studley

    No. Noooooooooo

    ^ (c) the hamster driving the cogs in George Lucas' head, circa 2011.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *lights up Vader Force FX saber in tribute*

    ('tis a great toy, though I couldn't saber fight my way out of a paper bag to save my life)

  3. earl grey Silver badge

    Bummer - RIP

    Sorry to hear that. Regrets to family.

  4. Spoonsinger

    Fencing master?

    Maybe, but shirely in OSW they just stood there and waggled the light sabres at each other. No real gymnastics involved - and even slightly sad to my seven year old jaded eyes at the time. (but it was more than made up by Han Solo's gunning down of the dude cantina scene).

    1. Boris Blank

      The sabre fight in A New Hope did look a lethargic it has to be said. Empire's duel was breathtaking though and much better than the over-choreographed rubbish seen in the prequels. Maybe it was Prowse in the suit for ANH, with Bob taking over for the next two?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Maybe it was really Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan and Bob had been told not to make him look completely crap?

        I certainly remember thinking when I first saw it that Vader looked like he knew what he was doing, but Obi-Wan quite obviously didn't have a Scooby.

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    ""The sword is the ultimate weapon. 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."

    This is Extreme Fencing? I don't remember body bags at the Olympic games, or for that matter hearing of much use of cutlasses in the Royal Marines of the 1940s.

    But all respect to somebody who was very good at what he did. Too bad he's not around to take a saber (light or otherwise) to the NY Times obit writer who described his service as "a sailor in the Royal Marines".

    1. laird cummings

      To give the man full credit; even when dressed up in full fencing gear, holding a lightweight weapon with an electronic scoring system, facing another person over blades is an intimidating proposition. Force of will, the drive to dominate is every bit as important as athleticism and well-drilled reflexes. Fencing is for *aggressive* folks - far more so than most other forms of athletic competition.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Try fencing saber

      Try fencing saber (especially without full protective gear). Hint - it hurts even with the protection.

    3. SkippyBing Silver badge

      NY Times obit writer who described his service as "a sailor in the Royal Marines".

      I'm sure as soon as any current or former members of the RM find out about that they'll sort him out, it's like they can't even be bothered to use Wikipedia.

    4. graeme leggett

      The Med 1941 was probably the last time

      During the battle of Cape Matapan, the destroyer HMS Jervis went alongside the immobile Italian cruiser Pola and the boarding parties were issued with cutlasses.*

      Possibly more Marines drove tanks than used a cutlass in anger.

      *They took off nearly 300 wounded before the Pola was sunk with torpedoes

  6. Hollerith 1

    Sword fights always the best bit

    The best few minutes of the original Arnie Conan the Barbarian was Sandahl Bergman character's rear-guard swordfight in the cave. A really good choreographed sword fight gets you as close to a skilled exchange of arms as possible, this side of the law. I don't, however, remember many lightsabre fights that showed brilliant swordsmanship -- mostly because the fun of the fights was in the clash of the sabres.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First the Chimp who stared in the 1930's Tarzan movies died, not Darth Vaders stunt double dies. what is the world coming too. We are losing all of our most famous people.

  8. DZ-Jay

    Ah, swords...

    An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

    Das is alles.

    1. Jaruzel


      Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, DZ-Jay. :)

  9. AbortRetryFail

    You keep saying that word...

    Of course one of the greatest sword fights of modern times has to be in The Princess Bride.

    1. laird cummings

      Don't tell that to my fencing friends - their critiques of the fighting in TPB are fairly scathing. It's *pretty,* but mostly, it's just dancing.

      For a better choice, watch "Scaramouche" with Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer.

      1. Vehlin

        Sadly there are plenty of films like that, it's all big power blows that you can see coming a mile off. Generally you'd attack the closest part of the opponent to you could cause damage to, this would invariably be his sword hand or wrist; you can't hold a sword with fingers missing and there are some lovely blood vessels in your wrist.

        Sadly most people don't really appreciate competitive fencing as there's a lot to get your head around with regards to priority etc. Which is one of the reasons why one touch epee is quite popular to watch.

      2. Tom 13

        I don't actually have any fencing friends,

        but at an sf convention I once went to the masquerade interlude was a sword fighting choreography troop. I don't recall the exact phraseology, but it was rather scathing. It went something like this:

        During the one fight sequence, they speak of a number of well known fencing attacks and ripostes. The fight scene would have been much improved if they had used ANY of them.

        1. laird cummings

          @Vehlin; I was a saber man, myself - while I could still be bothered to stay in shape and practice. Now, I'm more of a large slow target. :p My sister's man, however, is an epee-punk. Elegant stuff, the epee - yard-long straight-razors, and one hell of a mental game. You *need* a punk's mental attitude to excel with epee!

          @Tom 13; Well, there are a *few* attacks in TPB - Just weakly executed without any aggression or elan.

    2. Aqua Marina

      I was going to say the same thing.

      I've always loved the fight, and the whole film's dialogue pretty much.

      Inigo: I admit it, you are better than I am.

      Man In Black: Then why are you smiling?

      Inigo: Because I know something you don't know.

      Man In Black: And what is that?

      Inigo: I am not left-handed.

      Man In Black: You're amazing!

      Inigo: I ought to be after twenty years.

      Man In Black: There is something I ought to tell you.

      Inigo: Tell me.

      Man In Black: I'm not left-handed either.

      1. martin burns

        Naturally... but I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don't you?

        I don't think it's explicitly mentioned upthread, but Bob choreographed that fight.

        Pirate flag for the cutlasses.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Lucas is worse than Jobs at giving credit

    I've watched SW literally since it came out, and this is the first I've heard of him. That's not right.

    1. Thomas 4

      Of course he doesn't need to

      He barely gave any credit to David Prowse, the guy who acted as Vader, so what chance does a lowly choreographer have?

      It is really sad that I only knew about him and all the great works he did after he died.

  11. Reverend Brown

    Stay hard Darth Vader!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Darth Vader's not real?

    Well stone my Ewoks and sell my landspeeder!

  13. Chimp

    The force...

    ... was strong in that one.

  14. Homer 1


    May the credits be with you.

  15. ja'Krinda sutai-Trekkan

    Klingon Death Howl for Darth Vader


  16. Clive Galway

    With regard to it not looking "real"

    Surely a lightsabre fight wouldn't look like a sword fight? You wouldn't need *any* power behind a sabre strike as it would slice through anything with ease. Speed of the strike would matter to minimize the time the opponent had to act, but normal sword techniques would probably be pretty useless.

    That being said, if sabres were real, I suspect the best method of attack would be to clash sabres, then slide your blade down theirs - the light sabre hilt has no guard, so the easiest kill would be to slice their fingers off during a clash.

    Now where has realism got you?

  17. chr0m4t1c

    Darth Stig?

    So Vader was a gestalt entity?

    No wonder he was so difficult to kill.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let's not forget that Mark Hamill was very mean minded to Prowse, too; one of his few attributes was that he "walks well." No wonder Prowse blew his top and revealed all in that 1984 Starlog interview.

  19. Wortel

    Rest well Mr.Anderson. You now have become more powerful than they could possibly imagine.

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