Saturday, August 13, 2016

Farewell, Kenny Baker

Although his face was generally only recognizable to his most ardent fans, Kenny Baker played one of the most famous and beloved movie characters in the history of cinema. He was the childlike droid R2-D2 in the original Star Wars trilogy. Of course, that means he had a lot of adent fans. 

When the diminutive droid wasn't an actual remote-controlled machine, when it required to exude some of that effervescent personality for which it was famous, Baker crouched down into its cramped, uncomfortable hull and made it shimmy, rock, and whir. Because of his flagging health, Baker did not appear in his old costume in many scenes of the prequel trilogy (good for him) and only served as a consultant on the more recent, and much better Force Awakens, but he will always be remembered as the one and only R2-D2. 

Baker further earned his cult credentials, and actually got to show his face and speak, in several other beloved films including David Lynch's The Elephant Man and Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits. That's a pretty cool resume. Kenny Baker died at the age of 81 of an undisclosed illness with which he'd been suffering for quite some time.
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