Today is the 78th birthday of Kenny Baker, the actor inside R2-D2 in each of the six Star Wars films. So let's learn a bit more about him.
1. He Doesn’t Have A Ton of Affection For His Fellow Droid
On a number of occasions, Baker described his less than warm feelings for Anthony Daniels, the actor inside his fellow Star Wars droid C-3PO. "He's the rudest man I've ever met," Baker said in 2005. In a 2009 interview with Metro he offered the following:
"I thought it was just me he didn't get on with but recently I've found out he doesn't get on with anyone. He's been such an awkward person over the years. If he just calmed down and socialised with everyone, we could make a fortune touring around making personal appearances. I've asked him four times now but, the last time, he looked down his nose at me like I was a piece of s**t. He said: 'I don't do many of these conventions - go away little man.' He really degraded me and made me feel small - for want of a better expression. He's rude to everyone though, including the fans."
2. He’s Part of An Old Hollywood Tradition
Baker is immortalized in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The only catch is that it wasn’t his actual feet that left a mark. Instead, he was inside R2-D2 and placed the droid’s 3 legs in the wet pavement, right next to the feet of C-3PO and Darth Vader.
3. He Also Played An Ewok
In addition to playing R2, Baker portrayed the Ewok Paploo in Return of the Jedi. Paploo is mainly known as the furry little guy that hijacks an Imperial speeder bike.
In the Metro interview, Baker explains the experience this way: "When you put the head on, the eyes steamed up so you couldn't see where you were going. We kept tripping over branches and, when you were down, you couldn't get up - you just had to lie there until someone picked you up."
4. His Ewok Character Has A Twitter Account
Paploo has more than 1,300 followers, even though his tweets all look pretty much like this:
5. He Started Out As A Circus Performer
Baker provides the following biography on his website:
I started performing in 1950 at the age of 16 when I joined the Burton Lester's Midgets as a performer. Shortly after I became a DJ with Mecca Organization before joining Billy Smart's Circus as a clown and shadow Ringmaster.
6. He Once Shared A Stage with Laurel and Hardy
When the legendary comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy visited England in 1952 they posed with the Burton Lester ensemble, which included the then-teenaged Baker.
7. He May Not Have Gotten Super Rich
While you’d probably think anyone with a stake in Star Wars is fabulously wealthy, that may not be the case. Baker has mentioned several times over the years that while some of the stars of the film received royalties for their participation, he wasn’t one of them.
8. There’s More to His Film Career Than Star Wars
In addition to the six Star Wars films, Baker has also appeared in many other films, including Willow, Labyrinth, and The Elephant Man.
9. There’s More to His Career Than Films
In addition to acting, he once also pursued a stand-up comedy career, and is an accomplished harmonica player.
10. He Once Knocked Out the Heavyweight Champ
Well, not really. But this picture of him and Muhammad Ali is still really cool.