Kenny Baker, known around the world as the actor who first brought R2D2 to life in Star Wars, has passed away. Reports state that Baker was fighting a “long illness.” He was 83 years of age.
Baker was 3 feet 8 inches tall, and he operated the R2D2 body from the inside, as well as acting out the mannerisms of the beloved character. He would reprise the role for every Star Wars movie up to Revenge of the Sith, and was a consultant for R2D2 for The Force Awakens. Baker also played the Ewok who steals a Stormtrooper’s speeder in Return of the Jedi.
Baker is also best known for his roles in Time Bandits, Willow, Flash Gordon, Amadeus, Labyrinth and The Elephant Man. Later in his acting career, he had a brief stand up comedy routine and appeared in other movies and TV shows.
Born in Birmingham, England, Baker originally was going to learn the ways of an engraver like his father before him, but was later approached on the streets of Hastings to join a theatrical troupe of little people. After being in a circus for awhile and then performing in a comedy act entitled Minitones, he was cast by George Lucas to be R2D2.
Baker is survived by his two children. May the Force be with Baker, his family and his fans.
Nick Corbin is a filmmaker and writer who hails from Boise, Idaho. When he isn’t busy acting, or writing a screenplay for his own production company, Nick can be found consuming any geek media he can get his hands on. To start a conversation, ask him about the latest cosplay he is working on.