As I was going through my box of scraps, trying to put a scrapbook together, I came across this old photo, circa 1976. It was taken during the time I was trying to break into the movies. Even though I was determined to make it as a gorilla actor, I was willing to branch out into other areas just in case the perfect role came along. That was how early on, I got to be the stand-in for Chewbacca in the film "Star Wars." The guy who played Chewbacca and I were on pretty good terms (the rumors that he kept threatening to rip my arms out of my sockets were overly exaggerated) but there was always some part of me that hoped he'd need to take a long nap, and then I'd actually get to star in the film.
One day, Chewbacca accidentally let the cranberry juice ferment in his sippy-bottle. Consequentially, he was royally ill for several days. They called me to come in and do his scenes. I was thrilled, but I had just put a pie in the oven. All throughout the shoot, I couldn't help but think about that pie and worry that someone was going to let it burn. I asked one of the tusken raiders to take the pie out in 45 minutes, but he or she must have been called to do another scene, because just as the cameras began rolling for the big shoot-out on Tatooine, one of the robots came running onto the set, flailing his arms and yelling, "Pie on fire! Pie on fire!"
George Lucas, the director, was furious with me. "I had been looking forward to that pie all day, and now you've ruined it. You've ruined my pie." He stormed off in a huff. I could understand, because it was, after all, a rhubarb-strawberry pie.
In short: I was "let go." They didn't pay me, but they said that if the movie ever made any money, I would get a free lunchbox. As it turned out, the movie did make some money. I got my lunchbox, and a few action figures besides. George Lucas never did get his rhubarb-strawberry pie, though. Poor guy. He should have stuck with the gorilla.