Stuart Freeborn, the Star Wars makeup artist, has died at the age of 98, according to a statement by Lucasfilm on Wednesday.
Freeborn was known for creating characters like Yoda, Chewbacca, and Jabba the Hutt, as well as otherworldly creatures in the Star Wars trilogy’s famous barroom scene.
CNN reports that the makeup artist specialized in creature effects. He also worked on other film classics. He was responsible for creating the “Dawn of Man” apelike human ancestors from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, released a statement on Stuart Freeborn’s death. He stated:
“Stuart was already a makeup legend when he started on Star Wars. 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.”
Director Irvin Kershner stated that Freeborn put his own image into Yoda the Jedi Master. He was responsible for the creature’s inquisitive, elfin features with “more than a passing resemblance to Freeborn himself,” according to Lucasfilm.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that his other credits include The Thief of Baghdad, Murder on the Orient Express, The Omen, The Great Muppet Caper, and the four Superman movies that starred Christopher Reeve. George Lucas added of Stuart Freeborn:
“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 new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films.”
Stuart Freeborn was also joined in his makeup work by his wife, Kay, who died in 2012, and his son Graham, who died in 1996.
[Image via Chelloveck]