Stuart Freeborn (September 5, 1914 – February 5, 2013) was a British motion picture make-up artist. He has been referred to as the “grandfather of modern make-up design” and is perhaps best known for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy, most notably the design and fabrication of Yoda.
Freeborn’s earliest work in the film industry was designing the hair and make-up worn by Alec Guinness as Fagin in Oliver Twist. Freeborn’s most famous work is creating the make-up for all of the characters in the Star Wars trilogy, including Chewbacca and Yoda; he based Yoda on his own face and partly on Albert Einstein. He oversaw the design of the original Jabba the Hutt puppet used in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, as well as the creation of the Ewoks.
Freeborn was also the make-up artist on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where he created the humans/apes for the “Dawn of Man” sequence. He worked on Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, handling Peter Sellers’ multiple lead roles. He also worked with Sellers in several other films, including Heavens Above!, Mr. Topaze, and Soft Beds, Hard Battles and he was the make-up visual supervisor in the Superman films.
Stuart Freeborn cause of death
Freeborn died on 5 February 2013 at the age of 98 in London. His wife Kay died in 2012. Freeborn’s three sons – Roger, Ray and Graham – also died before him.