Tony Dyson

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Tony Dyson
Tony Dyson 2015.png
Anthony John Dyson

(1947-04-13)13 April 1947
Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England
Died4 March 2016(2016-03-04) (aged 68)
OccupationSpecial effects designer
Known forRebuilding R2-D2 in the Empire Strikes Back
Notable work
the Empire Strikes Back
Superman II
James Bond
Saturn 3
Dragon Slayer
Altered States
Orianna (divorced)

Anthony John Dyson (13 April 1947 – 4 March 2016) was a British SPFX designer, best-known for working on the R2-D2 droid props used in the Empire Strikes Back and subsequent films in the Star Wars film series.


Born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire he visited the private Stratton House School in Abingdon.

He started special effects studio The White Horse Toy Company. He was commissioned to fabricate the rebuilt R2-D2 props for the Star Wars sequel, the Empire Strikes Back, based on the designs of Ralph McQuarrie, John Stears and others. His team built around eight units, many of which were operated by remote control. Two were used by Kenny Baker, and two were stunt double models made for the scene where the droid was shot from the swamp onto the shore on Dagobah. Dyson also created robotics and props for Superman II, Moonraker, and Dragonslayer.[1] He also worked on Saturn 3.[2]

In the mid 1980s, he moved with his family to Kissamos on the island of Crete where he created a robotics lab as well as a western themed arcade, where several of his cowboy robots were used as interactive arcade games.

In the 1990s, he moved to Malta and founded Turn Page Studios in St. Paul's Bay. He died on the island of Gozo.[3][4]


Dyson was knighted in the Byzantine Order of the Holy Sepulchre for promoting philanthropic, cultural and ecumenical activities.

In 1985, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a Sony commercial featuring a John Cleese look-alike robot.

In 2013 he was honored with the title of Honorary Professor MBA in multimedia for the Stichting Euregio University in the Netherlands.


  1. ^ "Star Wars: R2-D2 original builder Tony Dyson dies - BBC News". BBC News (in British English). Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Tony Dyson Dead: 'Star Wars' R2-D2 Builder Was 68". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  3. ^ Stack, Liam (5 March 2016). "Tony Dyson, Who Brought R2-D2 to Rolling, Beeping Life, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ Ltd, Allied Newspapers. "Tony Dyson, man behind Star Wars robot R2-D2, found dead in Gozo". Times of Malta. Retrieved 5 March 2016.

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