The death of Kenny Baker, the British actor who portrayed R2-D2 in the ‘Star Wars’ movies at age 81 has brought forth an outpouring of tributes and remembrances from colleagues, celebrities and public figures on Twitter and other social media. Here’s a roundup of what George Lucas, Mark Hamil and others are saying.
The sad news broke on Saturday, August 13th that Kenny Baker had passed away after a long illness, less than two weeks before what would have been his 82nd birthday on August 24th.
As The Guardian reports, his niece, Abigail Shield,, said of his death, “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. 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.”
The actor, who was 3ft 8in (1.12m) tall, is best known for bringing the iconic droid R2-D2 to life in all of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels and prequels. When we think ‘Star Wars’ it’s hard not to think of the diminutive droid and his endearing personality, alongside fellow droid, C-3PO, portrayed by Anthony Daniels.
No, that was not CGI, that was the acting prowess of Kenny Baker himself, bringing to life what could easily have been an unremarkable and largely forgettable stereotype right from the start in the original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ film that launched the franchise. He was also seen in the most recent, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’
As fans know, he was also seen in other iconic movies of the 1980s including the sci-fi classics ‘Time Bandits’ and ‘Flash Gordon’ as well as the screen adaptation of ‘The Elephant Man.’
For the ‘Star Wars’ franchise it’s a crushing loss, for fans, yes, and especially for fellow longtime cast members and crew, many of whom have been the first to share condolences, memories and tributes.
‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas told the BBC, “”Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances.”
Continuing, he added, “”A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him.”
Many others have taken to social media to pay tribute and here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
— Gwendoline Christie (@lovegwendoline) August 14, 2016
RIP R2D2. Farewell Fidget, Time Bandit. Goodbye Mister Kenny Baker. pic.twitter.com/wuiQuCH7g6
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 13, 2016
So sad to hear one of my dearest friends passed away. Rest in peace Kenny Baker. Love you. Will miss you! pic.twitter.com/FosdwNysGk
— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) August 13, 2016
— DARTH VADER (@isDARTHVADER) August 13, 2016
— Warwick Davis (@WarwickADavis) August 13, 2016
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 13, 2016
Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2-D2. pic.twitter.com/NqOpxotxyK
— 20th Century Fox (@20thcenturyfox) August 13, 2016
— Star Wars (@starwars) August 13, 2016
R.I.P Kenny Baker pic.twitter.com/albHddycFK
— Joe (@BottleneckNYC) August 13, 2016
Reactions to the death of Kenny Baker are ongoing, and they will be for some time. While social media trends come and go at lightning speed, fans and colleagues continue to remember the iconic actor and his unforgettable ‘Star Wars’ R2-D2 character.
Pictures: PR Photos