R.I.P Stuart Freeborn, Star Wars Make-Up Artist 02/06/2013
Stuart Freeborn (1914 - 2013)
Stuart Freeborn, the British make-up artist renowned for his contributions to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Star Wars films, has died at the age of 98.
Largely self-taught, his six-decade career saw him create make-up and prosthetics for such cinematic legends as Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.
One of his most famous creations was Yoda, the diminutive Jedi master first seen in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back.
Freeborn based Yoda's look on Albert Einstein, as well as his own features.
Born in 1914 in Leytonstone, east London, the young Freeborn resisted his insurance broker father's attempts to have him follow in his footsteps.
"I didn't want to spend my life in an office," he revealed in a BBC documentary broadcast last year. "I felt I was different."
The 1970s saw Freeborn make a vital contribution to the Star Wars universe, for which he helped create such enduring characters as Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and Yoda.
Freeborn's son Graham became a make-up artist in his own right, working alongside his father on the Star Wars and Superman films.
Nick Dudman, who worked with Freeborn on The Empire Strikes Back, remembered him as "a Renaissance man capable of doing absolutely anything".
"He was a Nutty Professor," he told the BBC News website. "He wanted to push boundaries and had the most inquiring mind I'd ever encountered."
Freeborn's death was confirmed by Nick Maley, a family friend who worked as his assistant in the 1970s.
Our deepest condolences go out to Mr Freeborn's family and friends.