Stuart Freeborn, the pioneer of movie make-up like Yoda and Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, has died at the age of 98. LucasFilm confirmed the news Wednesday that Freeborn had in fact passed away. “Leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions.”
"Star Wars" director George Lucas said in a statement that Freeborn was "already a make-up legend" when he began working on "Star Wars." Lucas went on to say " He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy, his artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created." His "Star Wars" creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by the new generation, but at their heat, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."
Michelle Freeborn, granddaughter to Stuart, said he died Tuesday in London from a combination of ailments due to his age.” Michelle Freeborn, who resides in Wellington, New Zealand, said that her grandfather was “like a hero” to her and inspired her and her late father to get into the movie business.
"He was a really fun and imaginative individual." she said. "He gave you the feeling that if you wanted to achieve something, you should just get on and do it, and don’t ever use excuses. He enjoyed life and the amazing world we live in." Stuart Freeborn’s six decade career led him to work on many projects, including Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey." He was born in London in 1914, the son of a Lloyds of London insurance broker. He told a BBC documentary last year that he resisted pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps, because "I felt that I was different."
Including his granddaughter Michelle, Freeborn is survived by six grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren. You will be missed, and your work will never be forgotten.