Stuart Freeborn has been credited with creating some of the most recognizable faces of the past forty years and has been called a "legend" by "Star Wars" director George Lucas. Indeed, the artist behind Yoda, Jabba, and Chewbacca had already worked on several successful/future classic films, such as "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Superman", and "The Omen". Having began his career in 1936, he often took jobs that would leave him uncredited in the film's list of contributors just so he could have the experience. He quickly rose in the industry to become one of the top names in makeup and special effects.
"He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy," George Lucas said. "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."
Freeborn once said that he felt pulled into a creative life, shunning a more traditional job in favor of what he loved.
"I didn't want to spend my life in an office," he said. "I felt I was different."
Freeborn died on Tuesday at the age of 98, his granddaughter confirmed. Michelle Freeborn also said her grandfather was her hero and inspired her to go to work in the film industry.
"He was a really fun and imaginative individual." she said. "He gave you the feeling that if you wanted to achieve something, you should just get on and do it, and don't ever use excuses. He enjoyed life and the amazing world we live in."