“Star Wars” Artist Ralph McQuarrie, R.I.P.

Artist Ralph McQuarrie, whose concept drawings for “Star Wars” defined the franchise at least as much — perhaps more — as the actual movies, has died. He was 82.

McQuarrie’s stylish art provided the template for some of the movies’ most famous characters, including C-3P0, R2-D2, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. He even made a cameo in “The Empire Strikes Back,” which netted him his own action figure, TotalFilm reports.

According to TotalFilm, McQuarrie began his career as a technical illustrator at Boeing. He went on to contribute designs for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “E.T.” He won an Oscar for his work on “Cocoon.”

In a statement, Lucas said McQuarrie’s “genial contribution, in the form of unequalled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.”

On a personal note, one of my prized possessions as a child was a portfolio of McQuarrie’s concept art for the first “Star Wars” movie. It’s been lost to the sands of time. And on mornings like this, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to hold onto it.

About jlmicek

I'm an award-winning journalist in Harrisburg, Pa. I also run and cook all the things.
This entry was posted in Animation, Film News, Sci-Fi, Star Wars and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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