Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson wasn't even a Bit Actor, and there are 51 Robert Anderson's listed on IMDb.  Bob's name has (III) after it, indicating he is the third Bob Anderson listed on that web site.  There is also a Robert Anderson (III) listed as an actor in the 1920s.  So who is Bob Anderson (III)?

The Bob Anderson (1922 - 2012) for today's post was basically a swordmaster and fight choreographer.  In fact, he is considered the finest who ever lived.  His name was brought to my attention while doing some research, and I found out that Bob just passed away on January 1, 2012 at the age of 89.

He did act in some TV shows and only a few movies, appearing mostly as a stunt double and rarely credited.  But he was involved in movie magic starting in 1953 when he coached Errol Flynn (1909 - 1959) in fencing for The Master of Ballantrae.  Before that Bob was on the British fencing team for the Olympics in 1952 after serving in the Royal Navy during World War II. 

I don't know much about Bob, and there is little info on most of the usual web sites.  But if you have ever watched an action movie that had a sword fight, chances are Bob Anderson was involved.  Here are just a few of the films he helped along.  They speak volumes about how good he was.

The Guns of Navarone (1961)
From Russia with Love (1963)
Casino Royale (1967)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Star Wars (1977, plus the next two installments)
Superman II (1981)
Highlander (1986)
The Princess Bride (1987)
First Knight (1995)
The Phantom (1996)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
"Highlander" (TV series 1992 - 1994)
Die Another Day (2002)
The Legend of Zorro (2005)
Pirates of the Caribbean (most likely all of them before 2010)

In addition to being fight choreographer for the original Star Wars trilogy, he was David Prowse's (b. 1935 - portraying Darth Vader) stunt double for the light saber fights, and probably killed Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The later Star Wars prequels relied on CGI for many of the stunts, including Christopher Lee's (b. 1922) famous fight with Yoda in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Anderson was the swordmaster for The Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001 to 2003.  He taught Viggo Mortensen (b. 1958) how to fence for that series and said he was one of his best pupils.  He also taught Sean Connery (b. 1930), Antonio Banderas (b. 1960) and Johnny Depp (b. 1963) among many others.

Rest in peace, Bob.  Maybe its a guy thing, but I think you have brought a lot to the movies, and we thank you for it.


  1. Wow! this guy had a hand in some of the most important action films ever. Nice profile.

  2. Thanks, Kim. I am on a mission to recognize all the people who aren't in the headlines but make life so much more enjoyable for movie buffs!

  3. This is one fellow I've never heard of. Very interesting. I think "Master of Ballantrae" is coming up on TCM soon as part of the Jack Cardiff films being shown this month, so that will be an opportunity to watch his first handiwork. Will check it out. What a life - and what a filmography: Errol Flynn, "Barry Lyndon," not to mention the first (and best) "Star Wars" series, plus the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Lord of the Rings" franchises...I hope he died a wealthy man!

  4. Thanks, Eve. My wife read the TCM magazine article on Cardiff and she wants to catch his films as well.

    I am sure that if you ever take up fencing, you will find someone who reveres Bob Anderson! Ho only has a few movies in his credits, but they were great action films.


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