With the sad passing of actor Kenny Baker last weekend still heavy in our hearts, condolences, eulogies and remembrances from fans, friends, co-stars and colleagues have been pouring in from across the entertainment galaxy. The diminutive star who brought the sassy Star Wars astromech R2-D2 so wonderfully to life died peacefully at his home in Lancashire, England, on Saturday at the age of 81 after a prolonged illness, just two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. The abundance of social media tributes and kind words are a testament to his beloved body of work in the Star Wars Saga and beyond.
Geoge Lucas released this statement to StarWars.com upon learning of Baker's death:
"Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances," Lucas said. "A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him."
And Peter Mayhew posted his own in memorium message on Chewbacca.com after absorbing the news, including vintage images of himself with Baker.
"I know I’m a bit late with this, but my sadness is profound and no words seemed adequate to convey what we collectively and I personally have lost with the passing of my dear friend Kenny Baker. Kenny and I became fast friends the first time we met and formed a lifelong bond after realizing that we had so much in common. Although people liked to contrast the difference in our heights, we found we shared many of the same struggles, from finding clothes, driving cars, and fitting in airplane seats to health issues and the ever constant stares of strangers; we understood each other on a level that few others can. I am so very glad I got to spend time with him in London earlier this month. His talent and his wicked sense of humor never diminished even as his health did. Ever the showman, Kenny was always eager to meet his fans. In the decades we knew each other, I never met anyone who enjoyed the public more. For all the joy he brought this world on screen and off I give my thanks, and a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart who’s gone to soon. Rest in Peace Kenny."
Here are 14 more mournful messages of farewell from such creative luminaries and Star Wars geeks as Mark Hamill, Ewan McGregor, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta, young Boba Fett Daniel Logan, Gwendoline Christie and more.
Let us know your best memories of Kenny Baker and the cinematic legacy he leaves behind.