Kenny Baker, the man behind science fiction’s most famous droid, has passed away today at the age of 83.
Baker first portrayed the character due to his height – three feet, eight inches. “I got the job right away,” he told interviewers. He endured extreme temperatures inside the robotic prop during filming, but returned to play the robot again in the Empire Strikes Back Return of the Jedi, as well as the later prequel trilogy. He was listed in the credits for The Force Awakens as “R2-D2 Consultant”.
Baker’s niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian that he had been ill for a number of years. “He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”