Home Topics Movies/TV Stuart Freeborn – the man who designed Yoda – dies at 98

Stuart Freeborn – the man who designed Yoda – dies at 98


Stuart Freeborn, the man best remembered as who created the original look of Yoda (whom he based on a combination of Albert Einstein and his own features) as well as many of the other creature characters from the Star Wars trilogy – including Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt – has died at 98.

Born in London England before the first World War he was sometimes referred to as the grandfather of modern make up design. Largely self-taught some of his earliest work was with Alec Guiness, Vivien Leigh, Marlene Dietrich and Peter Sellers in movies from Oliver Twist to Dr. Strangelove.

He worked on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where he created the look of the humans/apes for the “Dawn of man” sequence. He also worked on the Christopher Reeves Superman movies as makeup supervisor.

George Lucas remembered Stuart in a statement released through starwars.com:

“Stuart was already a makeup legend when he started on Star Wars. He brought with him not only decades of experience, but 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.”


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chewbacca, george lucas, jabba the hut, Makeup, Return of the Jedi, scifi, special effects, star wars, Stuart Freeborn, The Empire Strikes Back, yoda

Shannon is an independent Media Manager who specializes in web series and independent films. She has also been a Script Supervisor, on set Photographer, Editor’s Assistant, author for Web Series Today and is the proud owner of an IMDB credit as “painter”. An avid photographer and classic camera collector she often can be seen at events with her 1969 Polaroid Land Camera and quite possibly at least 3 other cameras in tow.

You can contact her at [email protected] and find her on Twitter @shannon_shea

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