Kenneth George "Kenny" Baker (born 24 August 1934) is a British actor and musician, best known as the man inside R2-D2 in the popular Star Wars film series.
Life and career
Baker, who stands 3 ft 8 in (112 cm) tall, was born and educated in Birmingham, Warwickshire, and at boarding school in Kent. His parents were "giant-sized". He is an only child, and wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and be an engraver, but had not received sufficient education. He went to live with his stepmother in Hastings, Sussex and in 1951 was approached on the street by a lady who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later, he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice-skate and appeared in many ice shows. He had formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1977.
Baker appears in all six of the episodic theatrical Star Wars films. Baker played an additional role in 1983's Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewokwho steals an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket, but he fell ill and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis. Kenny is featured on Justin Lee Collins's "Bring Back Star Wars". He revealed a feud between him and his co-star Anthony Daniels. He claimed Daniels had been rude to him on numerous occasions, and states that Daniels is rude to everyone, including fans. He even said he wouldn't be in the same room as Daniels unless necessary.
Baker's other films include The Elephant Man, Time Bandits (also with Purvis) Willow (also with Jack Purvis) and Flash Gordon, Amadeus and Jim Henson's Labyrinth. On television, he appeared in the British medical drama Casualty.
In the late 1990s, Baker launched a brief stand up comedy career. Baker played harmonica with the James Coutts' Scottish Dance Band at Hugh McCaig's Silverstone Party in July 1997. Baker currently resides in Preston, Lancashire. While both he and his wife have dwarfism, their two sons do not.
In November 2009, his biography entitled From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story was made available through his website and at conventions and book signings. It was written with Ken Mills.