Kenny Baker (R2-D2)
(Wire Image/ Getty Image)
Kenny Baker, a dwarf at 3 feet 8 inches, was free from trilogy stigmas that may have hindered other cast members. Baker, a former circus performer, continued entertaining as a DJ, circus clown and shadow ringmaster. In addition to occasional film roles, including an elf in a 1987 production of "Sleeping Beauty," he also developed his own musical comedy act, The Mini Tones. Baker and C3PO’s Anthony Daniels are the only two actors credited with appearances in all six "Star Wars" films. Most recently, Baker made British headlines in 2005 for his arrest for driving while intoxicated.
Harrison Ford (Han Solo)
(AP Photo/ Getty Images )
While many of the "Star Wars" characters suffered from typecasting, Harrison emerged as an international, sometimes intergalactic leading man. George Lucas first cast Ford in "American Graffiti," next in "Star Wars, " and his role as Indiana Jones solidified his iconic status. Ford went on star as the iconic Jack Ryan of Tom Clancy’s novels and tried his luck at the occasional romantic comedy. The action star has yet to win an Academy Award, but he did take home the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 2000. Ford is set to reprise his other Lucas character Indiana Jones for an upcoming fourth installment, but it seems his Han Solo days are over.
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)
(MPTV/ Getty Images )
Luke Skywalker may have saved the empire from galactic evil, but his lightsaber skills left actor Mark Hamill with a little to be desired. Unable to shed his role as Luke, Hamill fled the action screen for the Broadway stage to prove his acting chops trumped his saber skills. However, his biggest success turned out to be his vocal stylings, which gave life to Joker on Fox’s animated "The Adventures of Batman and Robin," as well as a number of other animated shows and movies.
Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia)
(Wire Image/ Getty Images )
After immortalizing the universe’s most fearless Princess in a gold bikini, actress Carrie Fisher had trouble with life beyond "Star Wars." Fisher fell into a whirlwind of drug abuse accompanied by a quick-to-start quick-to-end marriage with Paul Simon. Her first attempts to break free from her typecast were of little note, but Fisher had a memorable turn as Meg Ryan’s friend in "When Harry Met Sally." However, she found her calling not onscreen but on paper: writing. Four successful novels and a spot atop The New York Time’s best-seller list launched her into a career of comedy-script writing, contributing to movies such "The Wedding Singer" and "Sister Act."
Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
(Wire Image/ AP Photo )
For an Oscar-winning actor, "Star Wars" proved to be much more of a burden than a blessing. Alec Guinness was already a distinguished actor with accaimed roles on his resume, but would be forever known as "Obi-Wan." He considered the trilogies’ fans to be maniacal to an extent and did his best to ignore his presence in the film. However, Guinness was one of the few cast members to recognize the commercial appeal of the film from the beginning and negotiate a percentage of the gross, which allowed him financial security to recede into the stage acting scene and write an autobiography. Guinness died in 2000 at age 86 from liver cancer.
Anthony Daniels (C3P0)
(Wire Image/ Getty Images )
Since he cast off the golden armor, English actor Anthony Daniels has not entirely relinquished his "Star Wars" past. Daniels is a contributor to sci-fi ‘zines, such as his regular column in "The Star Wars Insider," titled "New Improved Wonder Column." He has also taken an interest in Sci-Fi gaming, publishing a comic book for Dark House, "The Protocol Offensive," which is reminiscent of his former robot persona. Daniels donned the droid suit for the prequel trilogy, although he only did the voice work for "Episode I — The Phantom Menace."
David Prowse (body of Vader)
David Prowse embodied the most memorable character in the "Star Wars" trilogy, although he received little credit for it. A former body-building champion, Prowse was reportedly never told that his voice would be dubbed over and has held a grudge ever since. Unfortunately, his health began to falter in 1990, when his dormant arthritis problems intensified and ultimately paralyzed both his arms. He now participates in various British arthritis organizations and serves as vice president of the Physically Handicapped and Able-bodied Association. Despite Prowse’s lobbying efforts, he did not reprise his role for the fully armored Darth Vader in "Episode III."
Frank Oz (voice of Yoda)
(AP Photo/ Getty Images)
Frank Oz: the hands, the voice, and the brains behind some of America’s most beloved fuzzy friends and actors alike. As the voice responsible for the characters of Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear, Cookie Monster, Grover, he earned himself a reputation loud enough to play the voice of the most-respected creature of them all: Yoda. His successful muppet empire is still going strong, while he has also gathered directing credits for a slew of films, including 2006’s version of "The Stepford Wives." Oz didn’t let Lucas down when the director made the first three episodes; Oz lent his voice to the ancient Sage for his acrobatic lightsaber battle against Count Dooku.
Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin)
After Grand Moff Tarkin met his end on the detonated Death Star in the original "Star Wars," actor Peter Cushing’s life took a turn for the quieter. He appeared sporadically in films and TV shows, completed two autobiographies and relegated himself to spectator status for his favorite hobby, bird watching. However, his retirement years did not abandon him as a lost figure in the acting world: in 1989, he was made an officer of the British Empire, receiving recognition for his contributions to acting, both in England and worldwide. Cushing died in 1994 at the age of 81 of prostate cancer.
mes Earle Jones (voice of Darth Vader)
(Retna/ Getty Images )
To portray the menacing Darth Vader, George Lucas opted for a classically trained voice: James Earle Jones. Although "Luke, I am your father" will forever live in the minds of "Star Wars" fans everywhere with Jones’ imparted poignance, he has become the most disctintive and sought- after voice in the media. In addition to Jones’ Oscar-nominated role in "The Great White Hope," Jones, like Harrison Ford, found a calling in films based on Tom Clancy books. His infamous voice can also be heard as the voice of CNN, Verizon and Mufasa in Disney’s "The Lion King." Distinguished by both his voice and acclaimed acting skills, Jones has also received one Grammy, two Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards.
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
(Wire Image/ Getty Images )
Interestingly enough for a character who’s more than 7 feet tall and covered in yak hair, Peter Mayhew embraced his character Chewbacca instead of shedding the fuzz as soon as the scene was cut. He continued to portray the hairy but friendly beast well after the movies were completed, including a cameo at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards. Mayhew was tapped to fill the Wookie suit once again for "Episode III;" his studied movement of the character made a stand in or stuntman merely a sub-par Wookie. English by birth, Mayhew now lives in Texas, visiting science fiction expositions across the company, and in 2005, he took the oath to become a naturalized citizen.
Billy Dee Williams (Lando)
(Getty Images )
Billy Dee Williams rose to screen success in the 1970s, and by far his most recognizable role was as part of the Rebel Alliance, playing Lando Calrissian. He played Batman’s unforgettable villain, Harvey Dent in the 1989 film but was unfortunately replaced by Tommy Lee Jones when the moment arrived for Dent’s alter ego, "Two-Face," to take the screen in "Batman Forever." His screen status has markedly plunged since his 1970s fame, but he pops up occasionally, making cameo appearances on the sitcoms "Scrubs" and "That 70’s Show."