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 George “Kenny” Baker (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|
|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||The Elephant Man||Plumed Dwarf|
|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|
|1985||Der Rosenkavalier||Baron Och’s Retinue||TV film|
|1986||Mona Lisa||Brighton Busker|
|1987||Star Tours||R2-D2||Short film, uncredited|
|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”|
|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|