AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
We're going to take a moment now to remember a man who spent a lifetime using his hands to create some unforgettable faces. British makeup artist Stuart Freeborn died Tuesday in London. He was 98.
CORNISH: Freeborn's career spanned six decades and includes work on one classic film after another: "Oliver Twist," "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and Stanley Kubrick's "Doctor Strangelove." And it was in the world of science fiction that Freeborn revolutionized movie makeup.
(SOUNDBITE OF APES GIBBERING)
SIEGEL: Freeborn teamed up again with Kubrick on "2001: A Space Odyssey" and transformed a team of actors into remarkably convincing apes.
NICK MALEY: The Academy didn't even recognize it as makeup, so they wouldn't give him the Oscar that year. Arthur C. Clarke said it was because the apes were so realistic that nobody realized that they were suits.
SIEGEL: That's makeup artist Nick Maley who worked with Stuart Freeborn on a number of films, including the trilogy that would lead to his most famous creation.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK")
FRANK OZ: (as the voice of Yoda) You must unlearn what you have learned.
MARK HAMILL: (as Luke Skywalker) All right. I'll give it a try.
OZ: (as the voice of Yoda) No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.
CORNISH: Stuart Freeborn helped design and create Yoda, the diminutive Jedi master of the "Star Wars" galaxy. Again, Nick Maley.
MALEY: When Yoda was originally drawn, he looked more like Jiminy Cricket than he did like the Yoda that you know.
CORNISH: Maley says it was Freeborn who aged Yoda, giving him the wizened look of a real life master of physics.
MALEY: He extended the upper lip so it was heavy like Albert Einstein's mustache. He gave him Einstein's hair. He had the ears and the top of the head from the original drawing and modeled in his own jaw line to complete that character.
SIEGEL: In a statement, "Star Wars" director George Lucas said of Stuart Freeborn: His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "STAR WARS: EPISODE VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI")
OZ: (as the voice of Yoda) Twilight is upon me, and soon night must fall. That is the way of things.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.