ARLINGTON - In the movies, his characters bark, growl and grunt.

In real life, 7-foot-3 British actor Peter Mayhew softly recited the oath to become a U.S. citizen Monday, with his raised right hand trembling slightly.

Best known as the furry Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, Mayhew, 60, was among more than 450 people from 56 countries who became naturalized Americans in a ceremony in Arlington.

"I'll have a British passport, an American passport and a Wookiee passport," he joked.

Mayhew autographed U.S. flags and citizenship packets before the ceremony and posed with immigration officials afterward.

The former hospital worker said he decided to seek American citizenship when he got married "to a Texan lady." Mayhew and his wife, Angelique, wed six years ago. She was beside him, with a drawing depicting Chewbacca, a background of the American flag and Union Jack and the words "Citizen Wookiee."

"Well it was natural thing being married to a Texan," said Mayhew. "I wanted to become an American because Texas is an integral part of America, its lifestyle.

"You have to do obviously some research, but the questions are easy enough if you think about them," Mayhew said of his citizenship test, adding that he picked up much of his knowledge of American history and culture over more than a decade of living in the U.S.

Mayhew now lives in Granbury. He makes appearances at science fiction conventions around the country.

His film career was launched in 1977 as the role of the minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger after he was featured in a newspaper article about men with large feet, which caught the eye of the movie's producers.


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