Kenny Baker, the beloved actor who portrayed ‘Star Wars’ droid R2-D2 since the original 1977 film, has died at the age of 81. Kenny passed away on August 13 after battling a ‘long illness.’
Kenny Baker is the man behind one of the most famous robots in the world, and will be remembered as a pop culture icon. The legendary British actor and Star Wars mainstay starred in all three films of the original trilogy, as well as the three prequels from 1999 to 2005.
Kenny’s niece, Abigail Shield, confirmed the news to Guardian, and said that he was able to visit with Star Wars creator George Lucas one last time in Manchester, England before his death. “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.”
“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 (August 13) morning.”
Despite never speaking a word, Kenny’s presence and prowess made him an integral part of the Star Wars universe. Though standing at just 3 feet, 8 inches tall, Kenny was a force to be reckoned with. Though R2-D2 was featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a brief moment, it was not Kenny in the suit; he was too sick by that point to reprise his role.
Outside of constantly saving Han, Leia and Luke’s butts, Kenny had a long and illustrious film career. Kenny starred in tons of ’80s classics like The Goonies, Flash Gordon, and Time Bandits. He will be sorely missed.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Kenny’s loved ones and the entire Star Wars family during this difficult time.