Born: 24 August 1934
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Best known as: The actor who plays R2-D2 in Star Wars
Kenny Baker was already an accomplished circus and cabaret performer when he took the role of R2-D2
in the 1977 sci-fi film Star Wars
. His height won him the part: at 3'8" tall, Baker was small enough to fit inside the tiny robot. Star Wars
was a surprise hit and director George Lucas
went on to make a series of sequels; Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels
, who plays robot C-3P0
, were the only actors to appear in all six of the Star Wars
films made before Lucas sold the franchise to the Walt Disney Company in 2012. (Baker also doubled as a furry Ewok in 1983's The Return of the Jedi
.) Kenny Baker's other films include Time Bandits
(1981) and the Jim Henson
(1986, with Jennifer Connelly
). He also shared a long-running cabaret act with entertainer Jack Purvis. Baker as an advisor, not a performer, for the 2015 series reboot Star Wars: The Force Awakens
. He died the next year after what was announced as "a long illness."
As R2-D2, Baker himself is never seen and his voice is not used in the role… Baker is no relation to the British trumpeter Kenny Baker.
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