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Kenny Baker, 81

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The real-life talent who put his heart and soul into R2-D2.

"It’s all about giving R2 a personality, and CGI can never really do that."

- Kenny Baker

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The British actor Kenny Baker, who donned an R2-D2 robot costume for the first six “Star Wars” films, attended the franchise’s conventions around the world well into his life. “His fans worldwide kept him going and he loved nothing more than going to conventions and meeting everybody,” his nephew, Drew Myerscough, told the BBC.

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Baker and his wife, Eileen, were both actors, appearing together in “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. They were married for 23 years until her death in 1993.

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Baker played a number of film roles outside of “Star Wars.” Here, he’s in costume as the dwarf Pick Pocket in the 1982 TV movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He later said his favorite role was Fidgit, a time-traveling dwarf in the 1981 film “Time Bandits.” “The director Terry Gilliam's such a nutcase, he's so enthusiastic, you can't help enjoy it,” he told the BBC of the film, which starred John Cleese and Sean Connery.

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Baker, who stood 3 feet 8 inches tall, called himself “the smallest man in show business.” Here, he contrasts his height with that of “Star Wars” castmate Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca.

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