Kenny Baker, 81

Kenny-Baker

Kenny Baker, the British actor who gave soul to the heroic ‘droid R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, was found dead this morning in his home in England. He had been reportedly battling a lung ailment for the last several years and died in his sleep. He was 81.

Baker almost did not accept his most famous role, reportedly telling George Lucas that he didn’t want to be stuck inside the metallic shell of R2-D2. Eventually, the three-foot, eight-inch tall actor relented, but even then he was not sure that Star Wars (1977) would be hit. He certainly didn’t anticipate that he would be playing the character in a total of five more films in the science-fiction franchise.

Born in Birmingham, England on August 24, 1934, Baker was started his career performing with Burton Lester’s Midgets at the age of 16. He also performed a nightclub double act with another British little person actor Jack Purvis.

Although he was launched to fame with the Star Wars films, it was difficult for Baker to parlay that success into other substantive roles. Instead, he found himself in small roles in films like Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man (both 1980) and Labyrinth (1986). One film that did showcase the actor, along with several other little person actors, was Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, in which Baker co-starred as one of the band of temporal-traveling thieves.

kenny-baker-time-bandits

Avatar
About Rich Drees 6337 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Shawn KniselyJason Thul Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jason Thul
Guest

Jason Thul liked this on Facebook.

Shawn Knisely
Guest

Shawn Knisely liked this on Facebook.