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R.I.P. Kenny Baker

British actor Kenny Baker, who played R2D2 in six Star Wars films, has died. He was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1934. Baker was 3’ 8” tall, and began working in circuses as a teenager. He began appearing in films in 1960, and his work included roles in Amadeus, Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man, and his favorite role as Fidgit in Time Bandits. But Baker was best known for his work in Star Wars.

Baker initially turned down the role of mischievous droid R2-D2, famous for his whistles and beeps. In an interview on his website he recalled telling George Lucas: "I don't want to be stuck in a robot, what for, for goodness' sake?

He added: "I said, 'I'll help you out, I'll do you a favour.' George said, 'You've got to do it, we can't find anyone else. You're small, to get into it [the costume], and you're strong enough to be able to move in it,' - and they couldn't use kids.

"I could work all hours, so I was a godsend to them. They'd made the robot in rough form and I was the only one around at the time that was just right for it.

"I got into it and they put the lid on me like a boiled egg."

R2D2 wasn't his only Star Wars role- he also played the Ewok named Paploo. After Star Wars became a worldwide phenomena, Baker appeared at numerous fan conventions and promotions. He had been suffering from respiratory problems for a couple of years. Kenny Baker was 81.


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