Kenny Baker, the actor who brought the heroic and cantankerous droid R2-D2 to life in the first six Star Wars movies and consulted on Episode VII — The Force Awakens, has died.
According to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, Baker was 81 and had been ill for some time.
The 3-foot-8-inch-tall performer also appeared in films such as Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man, Time Bandits, Amadeus, Labyrinth and Willow, so a generation who grew up watching both genre adventure epics and mainstream dramatic films came to know his face.
That makes him a giant in my book.
In 2015, Nerdvana’s Bob Leeper took the above photo of art by Luca Zampriolo at the Sideshow Collectibles “R2-Me2” exhibit at San Diego Comic-Con International. It’s based on a classic image of the actor taking a break from Star Wars filming to enjoy a sandwich:
Remembrances for Kenny Baker:
Share yours in the comments.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
So sad to hear one of my dearest friends passed away. Rest in peace Kenny Baker. Love you. Will miss you! pic.twitter.com/FosdwNysGk
— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) August 13, 2016
Thank you, Kenny Baker. R2-D2 wouldn't be R2-D2 without the spirit you gave him. The galaxy has lost a star. pic.twitter.com/imcgbZELNW
— Justin Bolger (@TheApexFan) August 13, 2016
Despite a long illness, Baker continued meeting with fans as recently as late July:
— 🌚 (@carysrunaghan13) July 31, 2016
— Adrian Lacey (@al4wfc) July 31, 2016
Correction: Baker was 81, not 83, when he died.