Monday October 17 3:08 PM ET
In the movies, his characters bark, growl and grunt. In real life, 7-foot-3 British actor Peter Mayhew softly recited the oath and became a U.S. citizen Monday, his raised right hand trembling ever so slightly.
Mayhew, 60, best known as the furry Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" movies, was among more than 400 people from 77 countries who became naturalized Americans in a ceremony in Arlington.
"It's absolutely wonderful," said Mayhew, wearing black slacks and jacket. "It's one of the good days in my life."
Mayhew autographed plastic U.S. flags and citizenship papers before the ceremony and posed with immigration officials afterward.
The former English 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.
In most cases, an immigrant must be a legal permanent resident for five years before becoming a citizen. The wait is three years if the person marries a U.S. citizen. He also must pass history, English and civics exams.
Mayhew was born in Barnes, England. His film career was launched in 1977 as the role of the minotaur in "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger." He had been working as an orderly at London's King's College Hospital when he was featured in a newspaper article about men with large feet, which caught the eye of the movie's producers.
Mayhew now lives in Granbury, Texas, west of Dallas-Fort Worth, and makes appearances at science fiction conventions around the country.