Ain't It Cool News is reporting that legendary genre make up master Stuart Freeborn has passed away. He was 98 years old.
Mr. Freeborn worked on Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey (his Dawn of Man hominid costumes still hold up today), Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and, perhaps most notably, on George Lucas' original Star Wars Trilogy.
For Star Wars, Mr. Freeborn created the Chewbacca costume and crafted the Yoda puppet performed by Frank Oz which was first seen in The Empire Strikes Back. When you look at a photo of Mr. Freeborn and Yoda, you can see how he put a good deal of himself into the diminutive Jedi Master's final form (and not just the visage of initial inspiration Albert Einstein).
Stuart Freeborn was a very quiet, gentle person, but one whose incredible imagination and skill helped to electrify our movie-going experiences.
Our condolences to Mr. Freeborn's family and friends.