Entertainment Blog: Star Wars artist dies at 82

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He appeared as a rebel officer in “The Empire Strikes Back” and later as an action figure produced by Hasbro.

[pullquote]”Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.” -George Lucas[/pullquote]

Ralph Angus McQuarrie was born June 13, 1929 in Gary, Indiana. After serving in the Korean War, he studied art at what is now the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. His first job was as a technical illustrator at Boeing, and from there he rose to new heights, ending up doing conceptual art for several science fiction and adventure films, including the three original “Star Wars” movies, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “ET.” On February 25, 2008 the 501st Legion (the official Star Wars fan club) made him an honorary member and paid tribute to his work near the Yoda statue in San Fransisco.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man,” George Lucas said in a blog March 3 on starwars.com. “Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.” Lucas created the Star Wars universe and directed four of the six Star Wars films.

McQuarrie’s art helped flesh out and design the characters, setting, aliens and vehicles in Star Wars. In the past week, there have been numerous homages on his behalf, including two New York Times and Los Angeles Times articles March 6 and personal notes on McQuarrie’s Facebook page.

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