Kenny Baker, actor, dies

Kenny BakerBritish actor Kenny Baker, whose long career as a circus performer and comedian took a sharp right turn when he first stepped into the “costume” of R2-D2 in 1977’s Star Wars, dies at the age of 81 due to complications from a respiratory ailment he had suffered for several years. Even though the continuing march of technology meant that Artoo was increasingly played on screen by real remote-control robots, Baker did at least some work inside the droid costume in all seven Star Wars movies that had been released at the time of his death, one of a very few performers to span all three trilogies. He had also appeared in Time Bandits, Flash Gordon, and The Elephant Man, among other TV and film appearances.

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