As Guillermo del Toro put it: “Like Napoleon, his stature was measured not from head-to-ground but head-to-sky.”
Baker, who stood was 83 years old and 3’ 8”, also appeared in “Time Bandits,” “Labyrinth,” “Willow,” “Flash Gordon” and other projects.
Baker — who appeared in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and prequels as well as documentaries relating to them — had problems with his lungs for many years and often needed a wheelchair.
His niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian he was doing “very poorly for a long time.”
In his early days, he joined Billy Smart’s Circus as a clown and shadow ringmaster. Later in his career, he toured the country for nine years doing pantomime and ice shows, at which time he met the queen. He went on to form a musical comedy act: The Mini Tones.
Baker and Anthony Daniels, the actor who played R2’s protocol droid partner, C-3PO, were bickering partners onscreen, but their dynamic was like that off an old married couple who love each other deep down. Off-screen, they truly didn’t get along.
But as the remembrances from California to Baker’s home country of England attest, he was beloved by countless others around the world.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016
Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2-D2. pic.twitter.com/NqOpxotxyK
— 20th Century Fox (@20thcenturyfox) August 13, 2016
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 13, 2016
— Dominic Monaghan. (@DomsWildThings) August 13, 2016
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
A great one- And, like Napoleon, his stature was measured not from head-to-ground but head-to-sky. A brilliant man. https://t.co/wQMsQ5Sjoz
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) August 13, 2016
Sorry to hear of the passing of Kenny Baker.R2D2 to many,one half of "The Mini Tones" to me. pic.twitter.com/BRilcVDntW
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) August 13, 2016
RIP R2D2. Farewell Fidget, Time Bandit. Goodbye Mister Kenny Baker. pic.twitter.com/wuiQuCH7g6
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 13, 2016