The legendary Kenny Baker was a big part of the Star Wars sage, bringing to life one of the most iconic characters in Star Wars and beyond.
Only 3 feet 8 inches tall, R2-D2 actor and creator Baker, brought to life a robotic being that was as loved and relatable as his human counterparts, if not more so. Baker also played Paploo, the Ewok who stole a speeder bike in 1983’s Return of The Jedi.
A Star Wars legend to all fans, George Lucas had this to say on his passing (via StarWars.com) –
“Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances,” said George Lucas. “A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him.”
Born in Birmingham, England, Baker began acting at age 16. Along with the Star Wars films, his career also includes performances in The Elephant Man (1980), Time Bandits (1981), Lucasfilm’s Willow (1988), and more. In 1978, he immortalized Artoo at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, making cement footprints of the droid that remain outside the famed theater today.
“We’re all saddened to learn of Kenny’s passing,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.”
Baker will indeed be sorely missed. He was 82.