Kenny Baker passes away at 82
English actor Kenny Baker, best remembered for appearing on-screen as R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, has passed away after an extended illness. Although best remembered for playing the minute droid support character in the Star Wars films, Baker had an extensive career with a multitude of roles to his name, appearing in such movies as The Elephant Man and Mona Lisa.
I remember Baker best for his lovable role as Fidgit, one of the six dwarves starring in Terry Gilliam’s fantasy-adventure film Time Bandits. Who doesn’t love a man wearing a pasta-bowl for a helmet (with a candle on top)?
Baker also played the thankless role of R2 in Star Wars Episodes IV – VI. In stationary shots, Baker was responsible for manipulating R2’s head and the lights flashing on it. Baker was originally supposed to play Wicket, the Ewok whom Leia encounters in Return of the Jedi, but due to being ill on the day of the shooting, the role instead went to Warwick Davis. George Lucas decided to credit Kenny Baker in the role of R2 in Star Wars Episode III, despite the fact that Baker didn’t don the R2 costume (for the vast majority of the prequel films, R2 was alternately a remote-controlled model or CGI).
Rest in peace, Kenny…