Lifestyle & Belief

Superstar makeup artist Stuart Freeborn of 'Star Wars' fame is dead at 98


A new deep-sea worm is named after the Star Wars character Yoda. Here, a Yoda model is on display in London, England.


Tim Whitby

Makeup artist Stuart Freeborn, the man behind Yoda, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and other "Star Wars" favorites has passed away, Lucasfilm announced Wednesday, according to CNN.

Born in 1914 in east London, Freeborn died at 98. The artist had earned a special reputation for his creatures work, making the ape-ish figures in "Dawn of Man" and working on "2001: A Space Odyssey," said CNN

BBC said Freeborn had mostly educated himself, launching a six-decade career in which he did makeup for Peter Sellers, Alec Guinness, Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas said Freeborn had "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," Lucas statement said, reported CNN

Nick Dudman, a collaborator with Freeborn on The Empire Strikes Back, described him to BBC as "a Renaissance man capable of doing absolutely anything," kind of "a Nutty Professor."

"He wanted to push boundaries and had the most inquiring mind I'd ever encountered," according to Dudman. 

Indeed, it seems Freeborn was aptly named, telling BBC he always sought independence: "I didn't want to spend my life in an office," he said. 

As his Yoda creature might say: "Miss you, we will."