Today the incredible 3’8″ actor Kenny Baker passed away at age 82. You may know this cool little man from his huge role as your favorite droid R2-D2. Baker passed away after a long illness, according to the Guardian. Lets take a look at some info from Kenny Baker’s Wikipedia page below.

Video Source – CNN

Kenneth GeorgeKennyBaker (24 August 1934 – 13 August 2016) was an English actor and musician. He was well known for portraying the character R2-D2 in the popular science-fiction movie franchise Star Wars.

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Life and career

Baker, who stood 3 ft 8 in (112 cm) tall, was born and educated in Birmingham, West Midlands, and at boarding school in Kent. His parents were of average height. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be an engraver, but had not received sufficient education. He went to live with his father, stepmother and half sister in Hastings, Sussex, and in 1951 was approached on the street by a lady who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later, he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice-skate and appeared in many ice shows. He had formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1976.

Baker appears as R2-D2 in six of the episodic theatrical Star Wars films, and played an additional role in 1983’s Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewok who steals an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket, but he fell ill and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis. Baker is featured on Justin Lee Collins’s “Bring Back Star Wars”. He revealed a feud between him and his co-star Anthony Daniels. He claimed Daniels had been rude to him on numerous occasions, and states that Daniels is rude to everyone, including fans.

Baker’s other films include The Elephant Man, Time Bandits (also with Jack Purvis), Willow (also with Purvis and Warwick Davis), Flash Gordon, Amadeus and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. On television, he appeared in the British medical drama Casualty.

He also had a part in the BBC production of The Chronicles of Narnia.

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Later work

In the late 1990s, Baker launched a brief stand up comedy career. He played Casanova in the 1993 movie U.F.O., and played harmonica with the James Coutts’ Scottish Dance Band at Hugh McCaig’s Silverstone Party in July 1997.

In November 2009, his biography, entitled From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story, was made available through his website and at conventions and book signings. It was written with Ken Mills.

Baker continued his association with the character of R2-D2 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released on December 18, 2015 in North America. He was going to be a member of the cast, but he served as consultant for R2 instead. In November 2015 it was confirmed that Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2 in Star Wars: Episode VIII, replacing Baker.

In popular culture

Baker was depicted as a knight and courtier for a fictitious Queen Anne in Bryan Talbot’s parallel universe graphic novel Heart of Empire.

Personal life

Baker resided in Preston, Lancashire. He was married to actress Eileen Baker (who co-starred with him in the 1977 film Wombling Free) from 1970 until her death in 1993. Although Eileen also had dwarfism, this was not inherited by their two children.

Death

Baker died on 13 August 2016, eleven days before his 82nd birthday, following a long illness. He had been invited to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Los Angeles in December 2015, but was too ill to travel to the US. He later met up with George Lucas in Manchester.

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Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1960 Circus of Horrors Dwarf Uncredited
1962 Man of the World The Croat Episode: “Specialist for the Kill”, credited as Ken Baker
1975 Dave Allen at Large Salesman Season 4, Episode 36
1977 Star Wars R2-D2
1977 Wombling Free Bungo
1978 Star Wars Holiday Special R2-D2 TV film, credited as R2-D2
1980 The Muppet Show R2-D2 Episode: “The Stars of Star Wars”
1980 The Empire Strikes Back R2-D2, GONK droid Credited; Uncredited
1980 Flash Gordon Dwarf
1980 The Elephant Man Plumed Dwarf
1981 Time Bandits Fidgit
1981 The Goodies Dwarf Episode: “Snow White 2”
1982 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Pick Pocket TV film
1983 Return of the Jedi R2-D2, Paploo
1984 The Adventure Game HRH The Rangdo of Arg 2 episodes
1984 Amadeus Parody Commendatore
1985 Der Rosenkavalier Baron Och’s Retinue TV film
1986 Mona Lisa Brighton Busker
1986 Labyrinth Goblin Corps
1987 Star Tours R2-D2 Short film, uncredited
1987 Sleeping Beauty Elf
1988 Willow Nelwyn Band Member Uncredited
1989 Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader Dufflepud TV special
1990 Ben Elton: The Man from Auntie Invisible Demon Episode 5
1992 Casualty Archie Episode: “Act of Faith”
1993 U.F.O. Casanova
1999 The King and I Captain Orton Voice, credited as Ken Baker
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace R2-D2
1999 Boobs in the Wood Bruce the Convict Direct-to-video
2002 24 Hour Party People Zookeeper Uncredited
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones R2-D2
2002 The Cage Merlin Short film
2003 Swiss Toni Guyler Episode: “Cars Don’t Make You Fat”
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith R2-D2
2007 Casualty Charles Isaac Episode: “The Miracle on Harry’s Last Shift”
2013 One Night at the Aristo The Bartender Voice, short film
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens R2-D2 Consultant
Info Source – Wikipedia
Featured Image Source – knownpeople.net
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