British make-up great Stuart Freeborn has died. The prosthetics designer, the man who gave Yoda his distinctive look and worked closely with actors of the calibre of Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, was 98.
Born in East London as the Great War began, Freeborn was a pioneer in cinema whose refusal to follow a traditional career path led him to Alexander Korda's door in the 1930s. At the producer's Denham Studio he worked with Alec Guinness to create the haggard Fagin in David Lean's Oliver Twist, and with movie stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh.
"I never stopped from that moment," remembered Freeborn of a career that took in The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove. He created the 'Dawn of Man' sequence on the former, and worked with the director to pinpoint Sellers' many looks in the latter.
But it's the Star Wars movies for which Freeborn will be best remembered. Working with wire, latex, hydraulics, circuit boards, human hair and probably a little Jedi magic, he took inspiration from Albert Einstein and created a little green movie icon.
His death was confirmed by family friend and former assistant Nick Maley.