– The Washington Post

Bob Anderson, a fencing master who coached British Olympians before becoming Hollywood’s premier choreographer of sword-fighting, tutoring the likes of Sean Connery, Errol Flynn and Lindsay Lohan, died Jan. 1 at a hospital in West Sussex, England. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by Philip Bruce, the president of the British Academy of Fencing.

For more than six decades, Anderson’s talents both as fencer and teacher were on display in many of the most swashbuckling of all Hollywood action epics. Thrust and parry, the clang of steel on steel, through corridors, up and down stairways of medieval castles — Anderson showed some of the world’s best-known actors how to do it.

Anderson secretly earned an enduring place in cinematic lore as the man behind the mask and light saber of archvillain Darth Vader in two “Star Wars” films.

Anderson’s role as Vader’s on-screen stunt double in the epic light saber battles of “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983) went uncredited.

In “Empire,” it is Anderson who severs the right hand of Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, in the scene where Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones, says to Luke, “I am your father.”

During a 1983 interview, Hamill revealed that Anderson had stepped in for actor David Prowse for Vader’s light saber fights.

“Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition,” Hamill said.

Anderson’s career in films as a stunt double and sword master began in the 1950s and continued into the 2000s. He enjoyed pointing out that after editing a film for certain sequences, he sometimes ended up on both ends of a duel.

His credits included “The Princess Bride” (1987), the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2000s), and a 1998 remake of “The Parent Trap.”