Kenny Baker, known for his role as the lovable android ‘R2D2‘ in the Star Wars films, has passed away today at the age of 83. Baker most recently reprised his role as R2D2 in 2015’s mega hit, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘. Share your thoughts with us after the JUMP!
Born Kenneth George Baker in Birmingham, England, Baker originally attended boarding school in Kent and planned to follow his father’s footsteps to become an aengraver. His first shot at show business arrived when he was approached in the street to join a theatrical troupe of little people, an invitation that eventually led to work at a circus and ice shows.
Shortly after, he formed a successful comedy act dubbed the Minitones alongside entertainer Jack Purvis, which caught the eye of George Lucas, who hired him to man the infamous droid R2-D2 in 1977’s Star Wars. He would reprise the character six more times, including last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, before finally handing off the role to Jimmy Vee last November.
In addition to Star Wars, Baker also starred in several other major motion pictures, including The Goonies, Flash Gordon, Amadeus, Willow, The Elephant Man, Time Bandits, and 24 Hour Party People. In the late ’90s, he even tried his hand at stand up comedy and played harmonica in the James Coutts’ Scottish Dance Band.
His wife Eileen Baker passed away in 1993. They are survived by their two children.