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Stuart Freeborn, the man behind Yoda's makeup, was a pioneer in Hollywood

Stuart Freeborn was 'a makeup legend,' said 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas. Stuart Freeborn worked on films such as 'Dr. Strangelove' and 'Planet of the Apes' as well as the 'Star Wars' films.

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Stuart Freeborn, a pioneering movie makeup artist behind creatures such as Yoda and Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" films, has died. He was 98.

LucasFilm confirmed Wednesday that Freeborn had passed away, "leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions."

"Star Wars" director George Lucas said in a statement that Freeborn was "already a makeup legend" when he started working on "Star Wars."

"He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy," Lucas said. "His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His "Star Wars" creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."

Michelle Freeborn, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, said her grandfather was "like a hero" to her and inspired her and her late father to get into the movie business, too.

"He was a really fun and imaginative individual." she said. "He gave you the feeling that if you wanted to achieve something, you should just get on and do it, and don't ever use excuses. He enjoyed life and the amazing world we live in."

Freeborn's six-decade career led him to work on many classics, including Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey."

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