When it comes to losing Hollywood legends, the past eight months have not been kind; unfortunately it’s now fan-favorite Kenny Baker, the star of six Star Wars films, that the world is paying tribute to.
It’s been two days since the 3ft8 actor who played R2-D2 in the saga just 11 days short of his 82nd birthday.
Shooting to fame in 1977 with our first cinematic venture to the galaxy far, far away, Baker went on to play the enigmatic robot in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, ’83s Return of the Jedi, and the franchise’s three prequels movies. He was reportedly invited to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in LA late last year — after working on the epic as a character consultant — but was by this point too ill to travel to the US.
Fans of the British actor will also remember Baker from his appearances in many other much loved films including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits, Flash Gordon, The Goonies and Labryinth.
Over the weekend Star Wars creator George Lucas paid tribute to Baker, remembering “the actor who brought R2-D2 to life,” he said:
“Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances. 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.”
Lucas’ salute to the star was in good company, joined by a multitude of Star Wars alumni and some new generation who took to social media to share their praise for Kenny:
1. Mark Hamill a.k.a Luke Skywalker
Goodbye A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination He WAS the droid I was looking for!
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself)
2. Ewan McGregor a.k.a the young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan)
3. Anthony Daniels a.k.a C-3PO
Sad to hear of Kennys passing.1 of the truly original cast, so famed for his iconic role as R2. He’ll always be remembered by so many fans.
— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO)
4. Simon Pegg a.k.a Unkar Plutt
— Pegg News (@simonpegg)
Of course it’s not only humanoids and co-droids flooding Twitter with homages; many of the celebs inhabiting this galaxy shared thoughts of love alongside messages of how Baker’s work impacted them:
5. Warwick Davis on Baker building a platform for “short actors”
. Sad to say goodbye to a small man with a huge heart & personality. He paved the way for short actors of a generation. x
— Warwick Davis (@WarwickADavis)
6. Monty Python master Terry Gilliam references Time Bandits
FIDGIT FINDS THE GRAIL AND IS MADE A SAINT!! Alas, at 81 Kenny Baker has left us and rejoined the Supreme…
— Terry Gilliam (@TerryGilliam)
7. Filmmaker Kevin Smith mourns a childhood inspiration
Rest in Peace legend – whose name I learned at age 7 because he brought to life. Feels like losing family…
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith)
8. Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall sends well wishes
R.I.P. Star Wars Kenny Baker Dies: R2-D2 Actor Was81 via
— Frank Marshall (@LeDoctor)
10. Family Guy‘s James Woods ends on a sad note
What a sad note to end this day. .
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods)
11. Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones on Baker’s spirit
Rest in peace Kenny Baker. It was a pleasure to meet you & thank you for all the joy you brought us
— Gwendoline Christie (@lovegwendoline)
12. Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown lost a childhood hero
So many childhood heroes lost this year. Damn 2016. ,
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB)
13. Rainn Wilson from The Office is #R2D2Forever
R.I.P. Kenny Baker
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson)
14. Trekkie William Shatner joins the force
Saddened to learn of the passing of Kenny Baker.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner)
15. Peaky Blinders actor Paddy Considine kept his tribute simple
— Paddy Considine (@PaddyConsidine)
16. Dominic Monaghan spoke of Baker’s incredible legacy
You left your legendary marks to a lovely gent and a fantastic legacy.
— Dominic Monaghan. (@DomsWildThings)
17. Josh Gad a.k.a Olaf from Frozen‘s tweet was anything but icy
is gone. You will live on in this galaxy for years to come!
— Josh Gad (@joshgad)
18. Director Edgar Wright paid homage to his favorite Baker characters
RIP R2D2. Farewell Fidget, Time Bandit. Goodbye Mister Kenny Baker.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright)
Share your tributes to the internationally beloved Kenny Baker below.
Staff Writer at MP. Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona.