Chewbacca Actor to Become an American

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a Wookiee named Chewbacca (search) growled and howled his way through "Star Wars" (search) movies. On Monday, the actor who played him will take the oath to become an American citizen.

British-born Peter Mayhew (search) will be among 441 people from 77 countries who will become naturalized Americans in a ceremony in Arlington, Texas.

Mayhew, 60, played the fur-covered warrior Chewgrant 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.

"I've always been interested in the cowboys and the history of the West and the history of America, so it wasn't so bad," Mayhew said in a telephone interview Wednesday. He was being driven by his wife to buy a suit for the occasion. It will be the conventional type — not the brown, furry sort.

"I am feeling very happy about it," Mayhew said. "Whatever people say about America, it is still one of the most wonderful countries in the world, despite the politics, religion and everything else that goes on."

"I know that I have the best of both worlds with the dual nationality," he said.

When he takes his oath to become an American, Mayhew said he'll recite what he can remember and "it will be a Chewie growl for the other parts."