The Star Wars legend from Preston - his life story (with video)

Sitting in his Preston bungalow, wearing his favourite Star Wars pyjamas, the world's most famous droid flicks through a book of his life.

Kenny Baker recalled the past 75 years to friend of 10 years, Ken Mills, who penned From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story, evoking a string of memories.

He says: "We were outside in the summer when it was nice and Ken read the first two chapters and it was quite moving, even I was quite moved by it. You forget a lot of stuff."

Kenny and Ken, who runs online autograph business Write Stuff Autographs, met at conventions and thought the time was right to publish a book as both Dave Prowse (Darth Vader) and Jeremy Bullock (Boba Fett) had already done so.

Kenny, who is 3ft 8in tall, played R2-D2 in all six Star Wars films – but only thanks to the persistence of film producer George Lucas and his team.

Kenny, along with Jack Purvis, was on television show Opportunity Knocks around the time George was hunting for an actor.

He was insistent on getting Kenny for the part because, not only was he small, but his arms were short enough to control R2-D2's arms.

He says: "At the time, it was a load of rubbish. Obi Wan Kenobi – who the hell thought of that one?

"And C3PO. I couldn't even say R2D2. The kids used to say Artie Dootie.

"I turned it down three times because I was working with Jack (Purvis) as The Mini Tones in the West End.

"It was a strange idea that George had because there was a 15-year break between the three and the three."

But Kenny's life hasn't always been all about the big screen and being an international star.

The book tells how Kenny ended up in a home as a youngster and was essentially left to fend for himself at 16.

It was then he saw a poster for Burton Lester's midgets in Hastings, East Sussex, where he got a job performing, before moving on to ice shows where he met Jack.

And he was starring in an ice show in Morecambe when he met his wife Eileen.

She saw him on a television comedy show and wrote asking advice for friends of her family in Ingol who had just had a son who they thought would be a dwarf.

The pair met at the beginning of 1969 and were married by December.

Father-of-two Kenny says: "I think it was a way of getting to me!

"But I said – it's just another baby. It just happens to be small, that's all it is. It's not mentally deranged.

"I am a little bit disabled in the fact that my arms are not straight and my hands have never grown.

"They've always been baby-like."

Read the full feature in Tuesday's Lancashire Evening Post

* Signed copies of From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story are available from kennybaker.co.uk.

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