Kenny Baker, R2-D2 actor, dead at age 81

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Kenny Baker, the British actor who is most known for having played R2-D2 in Star Wars, has passed away. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) paid tribute to Baker in a Twitter post calling him “a lifelong loyal friend,” praising Baker for his optimism and determination, and in a nod to the script from Star Wars Hamill says Baker “WAS the droid I was looking for!”

Hamill to Baker

Baker’s other appearances include Mona Lisa, Amadeus, The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon. But he will always be remembered for his work as the droid in Star Wars. Beginning in 1977 and continuing for the sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Baker portrayed R2-D2, Luke Skywalker’s personal droid. He returned to portray R2-D2 in the three prequels released between 1999 and 2005.

For years he also appeared at numerous Star Wars fan functions and conventions. His nephew, Drew Myerscough, said these conventions and his fans worldwide “really gave him that extra lease of life.” He was not cast as R2-D2 for the latest film but was reportedly used as a consultant. Jimmy Vee had also already been cast as R2-D2 for the next Star Wars franchise film set to release in 2017. Despite the fame he reaped from the Star Wars character R2-D2, Baker told the BBC in 2001 that his favorite role was Fidgit in 1981’s Time Bandits.

BakerForceAwakens_getty
Photo: Getty Images

Baker’s agent, Johnny Mans, said the actor had fallen ill a couple of years ago and has been ill ever since. Mans said: “Kenny was truly a great friend, one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet, and a fabulous and talented performer.” He also described Baker as “a one-off” saying he would “never forget the laughs we shared over the years.”

“He will be sadly missed,” Mans concluded. And that is how a world full of fans feel as well, he will be sadly missed.

Kenny Baker
Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
[button link=”http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-37072736″ icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: BBC News[/button]

Last Updated on August 13, 2016.

Kenny Baker
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