Kenny Baker has passed away — as the death of the man inside R2-D2 puts an end to one of the longest runs that an actor has ever enjoyed in a sci-fi franchise. Star Wars fans became strangely attached to the little guy in the little robot, and there would’ve been even more hatred for the prequels if Kenny hadn’t been along for the ride. [Kenny Baker Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty]
Kenny’s passing at the age of 81 also puts an end to one of showbiz’s finest feuds. His off-screen bickering with costar Anthony Daniels — who brought C3PO to life — easily matched the onscreen bantering that had R2-D2 dismissed as a “scrap pile.”
In fact, Kenny really seemed to enjoy dissing Anthony Daniels in public over the years. It was more entertaining than The Phantom Menace, for sure. The feud went public in 2005, after the release of Episode VI: Revenge of The Sith — when Baker gave an interview as he retired from the series:
Anthony doesn’t mix at all – he keeps himself to himself. He never wants to have a drink with any of us. Once, when I said hello to him, he just turned his back on me and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?’ I was blazing with rage It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me. I was furious. It was unbelievable.
Kenny later got in one of the great Star Wars digs when he was asked if he’d be attending a cast reunion in London — saying: “It depends if you invite his lordship — the one with the golden balls. If he comes, I won’t be there.”
Yeah, he was talking about Anthony Daniels — who usually tried to stay out of the whole thing.
Kenny didn’t appreciate that, either — especially because he though Anthony’s aloofness cost the pair a lot of big bucks.
“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,” said Kenny in 2009 — adding: “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 sh!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.”
Yeah, we’re going to miss that kind of dirt. But, in C3PO’s defense, Kenny got a little more mellow toward the end: “Daniels has no time for any of the other actors — not just me — and none of them have a good word to say about him. However, I maintain that I don’t hate Daniels. In fact, I don’t hate anyone, as it just isn’t in my nature.”
But, of course, Kenny couldn’t let it go at that: “I just don’t like him, and have never understood what his problem is. Other than Daniels thinks he was the greatest gift to George Lucas — and I was merely a nobody who operated a robot’s controls, and didn’t contribute anything from an acting perspective.”
Man, we hate to think of what Kenny would’ve lived to boop next. Anyway, he got along with at least one costar — so let’s all think happy thoughts as R2D2 goes off to become more powerful than we can possibly imagine…