R.I.P. Artoo/aka Kenny Baker

 

The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.

Kenny Baker as R2-D2 on set of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999

Kenny Baker as R2-D2 on set of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999

He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man,

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Kenny Baker as Plumed Dwarf, in The Elephant Man directed by David Lynch in 1980

Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.

Kenny Baker, Tiny Ross, Mike Edmonds, John Cleese, David Rappaport, Malcolm Dixon, Jack Purvis in Time Bandits, 1981

Kenny Baker, Tiny Ross, Mike Edmonds, John Cleese, David Rappaport, Malcolm Dixon, Jack Purvis in Time Bandits, 1981

His niece, Abigail Shield, paid tribute to her uncle. She told the Guardian: “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”

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Kenny Baker signs film poster at a Comic Expo in Paris, France in 2014

 

Baker and Shield’s father, Ian, grew up in Birmingham. She said: “When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”

Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis of The Mini-tones theatre group are pictured with their wives

Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis of The Mini-tones theatre group are pictured with their wives.

Mark Hamill paid tribute on Twitter, writing:

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Photo gallery: Kenny Baker, a life in pictures

And here’s another image gallery from that galaxy far, far away:

About Stan Flouride

THIS BLOG IS ALWAYS AD-FREE I make stuff and do things.
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