Nick Maley

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Nick Maley
Nick Maley 2018.png
OccupationSpecial effects make-up artist
Known forStar Wars film series

Nick Maley is a special effects make-up artist known for his work on Yoda in the Star Wars film series. He has worked on a total of 53 films including Superman, Highlander, and Krull. He is sometimes referred to as "That Yoda Guy” for his work on the creation of Yoda for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.[1] He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the 1982 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[2] He now operates the “That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit” (formerly called “Planet Paradise”) on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. His museum houses many pieces of movie memorabilia spanning almost nine decades of film. He uses his museum as a front for his non-profit foundation, encouraging kids to follow their dreams.


Maley became interested in film at an early age. His father was an actor and he watched makeup artists back stage while growing up. In his earlier years, he worked on school plays where he did the makeup for the actors.[1]

Some of Maley's earliest work includes the 1970 version of Julius Caesar with Charlton Heston. He later met Stuart Freeborn who hired Maley for the original Star Wars film, helping make Yoda's head, hands, and feet.[1] Maley also worked with Freeborn and others on various creatures that made up the Cantina scene for the film.[3] He also worked on The Empire Strikes Back, which he described as his favorite movie to work on.[1] He is also a writer, creating the screenplay for the 1981 film Inseminoid. He created the script in four days along with his wife Gloria, also supplying the makeup for the characters in the film.[4]

Maley is originally from London but moved to Sint Maarten in 2007 with his wife Gloria, and opening the Planet Paradise movie exhibit.[3] The exhibit features versions of various Star Wars characters and other memorabilia from his work in the film industry.[1] He is also an artist and painter whose works have been featured across 18 different countries in museums and galleries.[5]

Maley was honored by Lucasfilm in 2016.[6] The same year he also rebuilt a replica Yoda using the same principles as the original.[7]

Select filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1977 Star Wars: A New Hope Makeup artist
1978 Superman Makeup artist[8]
1980 The Empire Strikes Back Makeup artist (Yoda)
1980 Superman II Makeup artist
1981 Inseminoid Screenwriter, makeup artist[9]
1983 The Keep Makeup artist
1985 Lifeforce Makeup artist
1986 Highlander Makeup artist[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Trejos, Nancy (19 July 2016). "Yoda in the Caribbean: Makeup artist shows off his Star Wars work". USA Today.
  2. ^ "Just The Facts". Toronto Star. 23 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b Steinecke, Julia (23 January 2010). "In a galaxy far, far away ..." Toronto Star. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  4. ^ Fischer, Dennis (2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895–1998. McFarland. ISBN 9780786485055. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  5. ^ "That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit". The Daily Herald. 14 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Yoda Guy awarded at Star Wars Celebration". The Daily Herald. 8 August 2016.
  7. ^ Watkins, Gwynne (17 December 2015). "How One 'Star Wars' Creature Maker Is Trying to Save Yoda". Yahoo!. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  8. ^ Clarke, Frederick S. (1990). "Fantasy Films". Cinefantastique.
  9. ^ Bowker (1 May 1989). "Variety Film Reviews - Horror Planet". Variety. ISBN 9780835227971.
  10. ^ "Travel Times: Saber the moment in Sint Maarten". The Hinckley Times. 20 December 2015.

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