Kenny Baker 1934 – 2016

Famed British film and television star, Kenny Baker, died today at the age of 81 after a long battle with a respiratory illness and eventual lung failure.

Kenny Baker brought a lot of joy to people throughout the years. Obviously most prominently as the beloved R2-D2 from Star Wars. A role that never even reveals Baker’s face, his body or even his voice. One of only a couple(?) actors to portray a role through all six of the first Star Wars films (episodes IV – VI and episodes I – III). Besides Star Wars though, dude was in lot of films.

And strangely enough, I was just thinking the other day about how much I actually really like R2-D2 – especially as I get older. I appreciate the character’s limitations and how he overcomes them to always come through for his friends. He also seems to be a child at “heart” through all six films. He’s got a unique and interesting way of communicating and even if you can;t understand specifically what he’s saying, we can all understand him perfectly. In other words, he breaks language barriers around the globe. This sort of demeanor and personality mimics Baker’s outlook on life as I’ve been led to believe. Always smiling, always the optimist and always there for people.

Mark Hamill paid tribute to his friend today on Twitter:

As a younger boy, he was told that due to his dwarfism, he most likely would not live beyond puberty – medical innovation has come a long way since then. But here we are 81 years later and Mr. Baker lived a long and full life that brought joy to millions and will live forever in the annals of history. May the force be with you Kenny.