Sword Master Bob Anderson Passes Away

He secretly took up the mantle of Darth Vader twice in order to duel Luke Skywalker in both Empire and Jedi, and Mark Hamill exposed that secret to the world so as to give the man the credit he deserved.  He’s trained legends—Aragorn, Zorro, Inigo Montoya, Captain Jack Sparrow, Sir Lancelot, Connor and Duncan MacLeod, The Phantom, and James Bond number amongst his students.  To the majority of the world, he’s a relative unknown.  To the world of filmmaking, he’s an unsung hero.

His name is Bob Anderson.

He passed away at an English hospital on New Year’s Day at the age of 89.  Today I mournfully pay tribute to the fallen sword master and stunt coordinator whose work inspired this amateur swordsman to take up the blade in the first place.

Born in 1922, Anderson made a name for himself representing Great Britain in the Olympics in 1952 and the World Championships sabre events in ’50 and ’53.  From here, he trained with Errol Flynn on The Master of Ballantrae.  Since then he has been a part of a number of silver screen swashbuckling epics.

Mere words cannot possibly do justice to the inspiration this man has been to countless filmmakers, actors, fencers, and little kids with plastic lightsabers across generations.  To get a full appreciation for the kind of work he’s done, I highly recommend a 2009 documentary entitled Reclaiming the Blade, narrated by John Rhys-Davies.  (which you can watch on Netflix Instant)

Anderson’s final work, The Hobbit, will be released at the end of this year.

To Anderson’s family and friends, I offer my heartfelt sympathies.  His legacy will always remain.


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