I know I speak for a lot of film fans when I say that STAR WARS has made an incalculable impact on my life. As a child, it was a gateway into other fantastical interest I was to have growing up, and while I very much enjoyed the likes of Luke, Darth Vader, and Han Solo, R2-D2 is one character who really initially drew in my interest in my younger years. From his adorable beeps and boops, his short stature, and overall spunkiness, he was practically irresistible to children around the world.
Now, I'm sad to report that Kenny Baker, the man who brought R2-D2 to life in STAR WARS Episodes 1-6, has died at age 81. Here's what Baker's niece, Abigail Shield had to say regarding her uncle's passing.
“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.
“When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”
Regarding his illness:
“He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to LA for the new STAR WARS premiere but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester.”
Like STAR WARS, the importance and impact of R2 will never be truly measured, and as one of the countless fans who grew to love the character, we thank Baker for helping to make the world a happier place.
He will be missed.
SOURCE: The Guardian