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Tributes are paid to movie makeup artist Stuart Freeborn

Tributes are paid to movie makeup artist Stuart Freeborn

TRIBUTES have been paid to movie makeup artist Stuart Freeborn, who has passed away at the age of 98.

Mr. Freeborn was regarded as a legend within his profession. His career spanned seventy years with his work appearing in some of the most memorable films of the 20th. Century.

Mr. Freeborn was responsible for creating the ape-like creatures in the The Dawn of Man sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In another of director Stanley Kubrick’s films, Mr. Freeborn did the makeup for Peter Sellers who played three roles in Dr. Strangelove (1964). See below.

But his career had almost ended in 1957 during filming in Sri Lanka of The Bridge On The River Kwai. He had been travelling with other crew members when their car which was involved in a collision with a lorry. He was the only person in the vehicle to survive.

His great skills with such materials as fibreglass and foam-rubber were used to create many memorable characters and creatures in such films as The Omen (1976). He also worked on the Superman series of movies.

One day, a young man wandered into Mr. Freeborn’s studio in England and announced that he was going to make a film and wanted the makeup expert to work on it. The young director was called George Lucas and the movie he was about to shoot was Star Wars (released in 1977). See below.

Mr. Freeborn and his team faced a tight deadline to come up with a range of characters for the film which became the first in one of the most successful film franchises in the history of cinema. 

His creations for the film included Yoda, Chewbacca, and Jabba The Hutt.

Among the many tributes to Mr. Freeborn was one from George Lucas. He said: “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.”

He continued: “His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created.”

To view an excerpt from Dr. Strangelove, click here.

To see the original trailer for Star Wars, click here.

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