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Tony Dyson, the British professor who built Star Wars‘ original R2-D2 droid, has died at his home on the Mediterranean island of Gozo, according to a BBC report. He was 68.
Dyson’s body was found by local police when a neighbor called them after noticing his door was open, the BBC reported. It is believed he died of natural causes.
While the look of R2-D2 was designed by Ralph McQuarrie, it was Dyson — who owned The White Horse Toy Company — who was commissioned to make all eight versions of the robot for the original Star Wars film trilogy, describing the five months he spent on the project as “one of the most exciting periods of my life.” Of these eight models, two units were built for actor Kenny Baker to sit inside, while four were remote control.
Dyson later worked on Superman 2, Dragon Slayer and Moonraker, for which he would build 36 laser gun-toting model spacemen. He would also apply his skills to the the Kirk Douglas-starring sci-fi Saturn 3 from 1980, helping build the evil robot Hector.
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