by Liam Stack, The New York Times
Kenny Baker, the British actor best known for playing the robot R2-D2 in six “Star Wars” films, died on Saturday at his home in northwest England. He was 81.
His death was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Lucasfilm, the company that created and produces the enormously popular “Star Wars” franchise. The Associated Press reported that a nephew, Drew Myerscough, said he found Mr. Baker dead at his home in the town of Preston.
Mr. Baker was a little person whose adult height was widely reported to be 3 feet 8 inches. He referred to his short stature as “my height difficulties” in an autobiographical sketch on his official website, but it would have been impossible for a taller man to play the role that made him famous.
“They said, ‘You’ve got to do it; we can’t find anybody else. You’re small enough to get into it and you’re strong enough to be able to move it,’” he said of R2-D2’s cylindrical metal costume in a video interview in Stockholm that he shared on his site. “I was a godsend to them, really.”
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