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Star Wars Make-Up Artist Stuart Freeborn Dies
Star Wars make-up artist Stuart Freeborn, who helped create characters such as Yoda and Chewbacca, has died at age 98.
Mr Freeborn died on Tuesday in London, his hometown, from a combination of ailments due to his age, his family said.
LucasFilm said Mr Freeborn left behind "a legacy of unforgettable contributions".
"Stuart was already a make-up legend when he started on Star Wars," said the saga's creator George Lucas.
"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."
Mr Freeborn's six-decade career saw him work on many classics, including Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr Strangelove, where he memorably transformed Peter Sellers into multiple characters.
At the start of his career, he honed his make-up skills on Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh and other stars.
But above all Mr Freeborn will be remembered for his work on the original Star Wars movies, where he created the diminutive, green Jedi master Yoda, the seven-foot-tall Wookie Chewbacca and the slug-like Jabba the Hutt.
Irvin Kershner, who directed The Empire Strikes Back - the second movie of the original trilogy where Yoda made his debut - said Mr Freeborn had put a lot of himself into the character.
"The Jedi master's inquisitive and mischievous elfin features had more than a passing resemblance to Freeborn himself," the starwars.com website said.
Yoda's looks were also said to be at least partially inspired by Albert Einstein.
For Return Of The Jedi, the last instalment of the original saga, Mr Freeborn oversaw the development and fabrication of the huge Jabba the Hutt puppet, as well as the creation of the hooded teddy-bear-like creatures Ewoks.
In a documentary, Mr Freeborn recalled being approached by "this young fellow" named George Lucas who told him about the Star Wars script.
"He was so genuine about it, I thought, 'Well, young as he is, I believe in him. He's got something. I'll do what I can for him'."
Born in 1914, the son of a Lloyds of London insurance broker, Mr Freeborn said he had resisted pressure to follow in his father's footsteps.
"I felt I was different," he told the documentary.
In his career, he worked with his wife Kay and son Graham, who both died before him.