R2-D2 creator Tony Dyson dies age 68

The late Tony Dyson’s R2-D2 prototype was made from an air conditioning unit

Tony Dyson, the creator of the iconic Star Wars robot, R2-D2, has died at age 68. He was found at his home in Munxar, a small village on the Island of Gozo, on March 3 and fans have since been remembering his impressive robotics work which has featured in some of Hollywood’s most iconic films.

Tony Dyson created the loveable R2-D2 for George Lucas’s 1977 space blockbuster Star Wars. The concept for R2-D2 was first developed by Ralph McQuarrie and special effects wizard John Stears, but it was Dyson tasked with bringing the concept to life and creating a fully-fledged moveable droid, equipped to grace the big screens.

The first R2-D2 prototype was made from the body of a Convair CV240 air conditioning unit. Dyson went on to build eight models for the Star Wars production team, including two remote-control versions and one with a seat for R2-D2’s voice actor, Kenny Baker.

Anthony Dyson, born on April 13 1947 in West Yorkshire, went on to experience more success within the movie industry, creating robots for James Bond movie Moonraker (1979), fantasy film Altered States (1980) and Walt Disney’s Dragonslayer (1981).

In the 1980s, Dyson worked with commercial tech companies, including Phillips and Sony, to create promotional electronic technology. His work with Sony resulted in Dyson being awarded an Emmy in 1984.

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