Bob Anderson took up fencing as a youth, and was a rare fencer who made a lifelong career of it, appearing in many movies and teaching fencing to actors. Anderson joined the Royal Marines before World War II, winning several military fencing titles and teaching fencing to the soldiers. He served in the Mediterranean during the war, and was on board the HMS Coventry when it was sunk. He later trained as a fencing coach and represented Britain at the 1952 Olympics and the 1950 and 1953 world championships. At the 1950 British Empire Games, Anderson won gold in team sabre (with Charles de Beaumont and Arthur Pilbrow) and team foil (with Arthur Pilbrow and René Paul), and silver medals in the individual épée, individual sabre, and team épée (with Charles de Beaumont and René Paul). In the 1950s, Anderson became coach of Britain's national fencing team, a post he held until the late 1970s. He later served as technical director of the Canadian Fencing Association.
As an actor he was often uncredited for his roles, but most famously played the part of Darth Vader in the fight scenes with the light saber in the first Star Wars movie, a fact that went unknown until the star of the movie, Mark Hamill, told director George Lucas in 1983 that Anderson deserved the credit, and his role was revealed. Anderson’s first film work was teaching Errol Flynn to sword fight for The Master of Ballantrae in 1952. He later worked on many films and television shows, including two James Bond movies, From Russia With Love and Die Another Day. He also helped with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the 4th and 5th Star Wars movies, and Superman II.