Hollywood makeup artist Stuart Freeborn died 6 February 2013. Born in London, England, on 5 September 1914, he will be remembered for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy (1977-83), for which he won Saturn Awards in 1978 and 1984, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 1984. He also worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and the four Superman films (1978-87). In announcing his death, LucasFilm said he leaves “a legacy of unforgettable contributions,” but did not elaborate on a cause. George Lucas issued a statement calling Freeborn a “makeup legend” whose artistry will live on forever.
Among his earliest film work was designing the hair and make-up for Alec Guinness as Fagin in Oliver Twist. His other genre film work includes: Haunted Honeymoon (1986), Santa Claus (1985), Spectre (1977), The Omen (1976), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972), Beware My Brethren (1972), Tomorrow (1970), The Hands of Orlac (1960), and The Thief of Bagdad (1940).
Of his Star Wars work, it’s been frequently said that he based Yoda on his own face and that of Albert Einstein. He also was a key designer of Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt. In 2001, he created the ape-men for the “Dawn of Man” sequence, and also worked with director Stanley Kubrick on Dr. Strangelove, making up Peter Sellers for his multiple lead roles.
He is survived by his wife Kay, who worked with him on several projects. Their son Graham, who was also a makeup artist, died in 1986.