Kenny Baker (August 24, 1934August 13, 2016[1]) was a British actor best known as the man inside of R2-D2 in the Star Wars film series. Baker had also worked with George Lucas outside of the Star Wars films, with an uncredited role as a Nelwyn band member in Willow, as well as a role as the Goblin Corps in Labyrinth.

Baker's other films include 1980's The Elephant Man, 1981's Time Bandits, and the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth. In the late 1990s, Baker launched a stand-up comedy career. Kenny is a first-class mouth-organ player and rates his guest appearance with the James Coutts Scottish Dance Band at Hugh McCaig's Silverstone Party in July 1997 as probably his "finest musical experience."


Baker's lesser known role as Paploo the Ewok

Kenny Baker, at 3 feet, 8 inches (112 cm) tall, was a circus and cabaret performer with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1977. Baker appears in the first six theatrical Star Wars films, although stock footage was used for much of R2-D2's role in Revenge of the Sith.[2] Baker played an additional role in 1983's Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewok who stole an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket W. Warrick, but he fell ill, and that role was handed over to eleven-year-old Warwick Davis.[source?]

In Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, Baker was credited as "R2 Consultant." R2-D2 in the movie was represented by actor Jimmy Vee.[3]

Baker was hospitalized on April 9, 2008 because of a "mystery illness,"[4] and on August 13, 2016, passed away at the age of 81, 11 days before his 82nd birthday.[1]


Year Title Contribution(s) Notes
1977 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope R2-D2
1978 Star Wars Immunization PSA R2-D2 A PSA highlighting children immunization
1980 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back R2-D2
1983 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi R2-D2, Paploo
1999 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace R2-D2
2002 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones R2-D2
2005 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith R2-D2 Stock footage was used for most of this movie.[2]
2015 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens R2 Consultant


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kenny Baker, the R2-D2 Robot in 'Star Wars,' Dies at 81 (2016-08-13). nytimes.com. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kenny Baker. Metro.co.uk. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017.
  3. Ward, Jason: Little Actor Jimmy Vee Is Artoo-Detoo In Star Wars: Episode VIII? (2015-09-16). makingstarwars.net. Making Star Wars. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020.
  4. WENN: R2-D2 Actor Struck Down With Mystery Illness (2008-04-10). contactmusic.net. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017.

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