LONDON -- Stuart Freeborn, a pioneering movie makeup artist behind creatures such as Yoda and Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" films, died Tuesday. He was 98.
"Star Wars" director George Lucas said in a statement that Freeborn was "already a makeup legend" when he started working on "Star Wars." "His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created," Lucas said.
Born in London in 1914, Freeborn was the son of a Lloyd's of London insurance broker.
His six-decade movie career led him to work on many classics. He joined with Stanley Kubrick, transforming Peter Sellers into multiple characters for "Doctor Strangelove" before designing the apes for the "Dawn of Man" sequence in "2001: A Space Odyssey."
But he will likely be best remembered for his work on "Star Wars" -- creating characters such as the 7-foot-tall Wookie Chewbacca and the sluglike Jabba the Hutt.
Lucasfilm said that Irvin Kershner, who directed "The Empire Strikes Back," would "note that Freeborn quite literally put himself into Yoda, as the Jedi master's inquisitive and mischievous elfin features had more than a passing resemblance to Freeborn himself."
(Yoda's looks were also said to be partly inspired by Albert Einstein.)-- AP