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Stuart Freeborn, makeup artist behind Star Wars' Yoda, dies at 98

5:08 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, furthers his Jedi training with Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back."
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LONDON (AP) - Stuart Freeborn, a pioneering movie makeup artist who created creatures for "2001: A Space Odyssey" and the "Star Wars" films, has died. He was 98.

LucasFilm said Wednesday that Freeborn had passed away, "leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions." It did not provide additional details on Freeborn's death.

"Star Wars" director George Lucas said in a statement that Freeborn was "a makeup legend" whose artistry will live on forever.

For "Star Wars," Freeborn helped create wise Jedi knight Yoda - a diminutive green figure whose features were partly inspired by Albert Einstein and partly by Freeborn himself - and 7-foot-tall wookie Chewbacca.

During a six-decade career, Freeborn also designed the apes in a memorable sequence of Stanley Kubrick's space epic "2001: A Space Odyssey."

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