George Lucas

(b. 1944) American film director, producer, and screenwriter

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(1944– )

US film director, writer, and producer who created the Star Wars screen trilogy.

Born in Modesto, California, George Lucas had his young imagination fired by the science-fiction comic books sold in his father's store. Even in his early home movies Lucas revealed a fascination with special effects. As a protégé of Francis Ford Coppola, he managed to raise the finance for his debut feature film, THX 1138 (1971), an Orwellian fantasy that flopped at the box office. However, triumph came soon after – with American Graffiti (1973), a nostalgic celebration of early 1960s teenage lifestyles, which was cheap to make but reaped good commercial returns. The hugely successful science fantasy epic Star Wars (1977), followed by its sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), made Lucas very rich. A decade and a half later he would capitalize on their success by reworking them with new technological trickery.

In the interim, he collaborated with Steven Spielberg to transform Harrison Ford from the role of space-hero Han Solo to the daring archaeologist Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Lucas later made a lavish ‘prequel’ television series Young Indiana Jones. Lucas's admiration for the veteran Japanese director Akira Kurosawa encouraged him to back the latter's samurai spectacular Kagemusha (1980). He also co-produced a film based on the life and suicide of the Japanese writer Yuko Mishima (1985). In 1996 Lucas announced his plan to make a trilogy of prequels to the Star Wars films.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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