George Lucas

George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an Academy Award nominated American film director, producer, and screenwriter famous for his epic Star Wars saga and his Indiana Jones films. He is one of the American film industry's most independent, financially successful directors and producers.

George Walton Lucas Jr. was born in Modesto, California to George Walton Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991) and Dorothy Ellinore Bomberger Lucas (1913–1989). His father, who was mainly of British and Swiss heritage, ran a stationery store and owned a small walnut orchard. His mother was a member of a prominent Modesto family (one of her cousins is the mother of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and director of Unicef Ann Veneman) and was mainly of German and Scots-Irish heritage.

Lucas graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1962, where he had been an indifferent student at best and dreamed of becoming a professional race car driver. That early dream ended June 12, 1962, when he crashed his Bianchina. The car was broadsided while he tried to make a left turn into his driveway. The car rolled; the racing harness that he had installed snapped, and he was thrown from the car. Had the harness not snapped—and Lucas has said it shouldn't have—he would most likely have been crushed to death by the steering column when the car smashed into a walnut tree. (The force of the impact uprooted the tree).

During his recovery, Lucas reevaluated his life and decided to go to college. He enrolled at Modesto Junior College, where he earned an AA degree.

George Lucas then transferred to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. USC was one of the earliest universities to have a school devoted to motion picture film. During the years at USC, George Lucas shared a dorm room with Randal Kleiser. New ideas regarding movie making inspired Randal Kleiser a veted and experimental interest in special effects; so that after directing acclaimed musical hit Grease, and an era iconic The Blue Lagoon, he also went on to pioneer motion picture morphing, and showed the Star Wars spirit of cinematic constructivism during a movie musical shot in 2003 featuring the first successful "on-demand" 3D virtual reality filming stage. George Lucas made many short films at USC; the first was Freiheit that included Randal Kleiser in the acting cast. Many George Lucas USC student projects had a technical and science fiction look. With them an early version of THX 1138 (the complete title was "Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB") which won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival and later became his first full-length feature film.

After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts in film in 1967, he tried joining the Air Force as an officer, but was turned down because of his numerous speeding tickets. He was later drafted by the Army, but tests showed he had diabetes, the disease that killed his paternal grandfather. Lucas was prescribed medication for the disease, but his symptoms are sufficiently mild that he does not require insulin and would not be considered diabetic under the disease's current classification. In 1967, Lucas re-enrolled as a USC graduate student in film production and was awarded a scholarship by Warner Brothers to observe the making of Finian's Rainbow (1968) which was being directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Eventually he co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Coppola—whom he met during the internship at Warner Brothers—hoping to create a liberating environment for filmmakers to direct outside the perceived oppressive control of the Hollywood studio system. From the financial success of his films American Graffiti (1973) and Star Wars (1977), Lucas was able to set up his own studio, Lucasfilm, in Marin County in his native Northern California. Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic, the sound and visual effects subdivisions of Lucasfilm, respectively, have become among the most respected firms in their fields. Lucasfilm Games, later renamed to LucasArts, was for many years highly regarded in the gaming industry.

Star Wars is considered by some to be the first "high concept" film, although others feel the first was Steven Spielberg's Jaws, released two years prior. Lucas and Spielberg had been good friends for some time and eventually worked together on several films, notably the first Indiana Jones vehicle, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981.

On a return on investment basis, Star Wars proved to be one of the most successful films of all time. During the filming of Star Wars, Lucas waived his up front fee as director and negotiated to own the licensing rights—rights which the studio thought were nearly worthless. This decision earned him hundreds of millions of dollars as he was able to directly profit from all the licensed games, toys and collectibles created for the franchise. In 2004 Forbes Magazine estimated Lucas' personal wealth at US$3 billion. In 2005 estimated the lifetime revenue generated by the Star Wars franchise at nearly $20 billion.

On October 3, 1994, Lucas started to write the three Star Wars prequels, and on November 1 that year, he left the day-to-day operations of his filmmaking business and started a sabbatical to finish the prequels.

The American Film Institute awarded Lucas its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005. He received the award on June 9, 2005. This was awarded shortly after the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which he jokingly made reference to in his acceptance speech, stating that, since he views the entire Star Wars series as one movie, that he could be given the award now that he had finally "gone back and finished the movie."

On June 5, 2005, Lucas was named 100th "Greatest American" by the Discovery Channel.

In 1969, Lucas married film editor Marcia Lou Griffin, who went on to win an Oscar for her work on the original (fourth) Star Wars film. They adopted a daughter, Amanda, in 1981, and divorced in 1983. Lucas has since adopted two more children: Katie, born in 1988, and Jett, born in 1993. All three of his children have appeared in the prequels. Lucas had also been in a long relationship with country singer Linda Ronstadt.

In 2005, Lucas gave $1.5 million to help build the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr..

Lucas was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Directing and Writing for American Grafitti, and Best Directing and Writing for Star Wars. He also received the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1991.

On September 19, 2006, USC announced that George Lucas had donated $175 million to his alma mater to expand the film school. It is the largest single donation to USC.

On September 20, George Lucas was announced the Grand Marshal for the 2007 Rose Parade.

He recently announced that he would produce a tv series about Star Wars which would take place between episode 3 and 4. According to rumours, the name of it will be "A Galaxy Far Away".

* George Lucas cameos in a video with Jamie Kennedy, Stu Stone and Bob Saget, a song "Rollin' with Saget" from the MTV show Blowin' Up.
* George was parodied as "Randall Curtis" on The Simpsons
* A noted fan of Mel Brooks, he gave permission to Mel Brooks to film Spaceballs after reading a copy of the script Brooks had given him.
* Made a cameo appearance in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith at the insistence of his daughter. He appeared in the opera scene, near Palpatine. This is his only appearance in any of the Star Wars films.
* In 1976, Lucas published a novelization of A New Hope, which was initially (like the film) titled just Star Wars. Although Lucas was credited as author of the book, it was later revealed that the book was actually ghost written by Alan Dean Foster, who would also write Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the first original Star Wars novel and, in many respects, the first Star Wars sequel.
* As a tribute to his first film, THX-1138, it is said that each of his films contains the number 1138 hidden as an Easter egg, and each of his movies are also made with the sound company THX. It is also rumored that while growing up in California, the last seven digits of his home telephone number were 849-1138, where the 849 corresponds with the letters THX on a standard telephone.
* Stood as a financial guarantor on his friend Willard Huyck's film adaptation of the Howard the Duck comics and was credited as 'Executive Producer' for the service despite having no involvement in the film's production and never visiting the set. The film is often referred to as a Lucas 'bomb' despite his lack of tangible involvement, although he has made attempts to distance himself from the film.
* Lucas credits his friend John Milius with introducing him to the films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, whose works (particularly The Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress) inspired the Star Wars films. For example, The Hidden Fortress includes two ubiquitous and sometimes humorous infantry soldiers who are said to have inspired R2-D2 and C-3PO; an aging master samurai on a quest to deliver a princess back to her people, said to be the inspiration for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia in Star Wars; and the hidden fortress itself, belonging to the princess's people, which the dominant clan is trying to find and destroy, said to inspire the rebel base on Yavin and the Empire's quest to find and destroy it in Star Wars. He would later repay the favor by signing on (along with Francis Ford Coppola) as executive producer for Kurosawa's film Kagemusha.
* Inspired by Buddhist monk Bhante Dharmawara, Yoda was created with him in mind, although physically the Jedi Master was based upon Albert Einstein and model maker Stuart Freeborn.
* Lucas also based his Star Wars films on the scholarship of Joseph Campbell, particularly Campbell's 1949 text, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which deals with the idea of common elements across hero mythologies in many or all human cultures. These include, for example, the hero being called on a quest, the hero initially being reluctant to go but then receiving new motivation by unfolding events, the hero being guided by a wise elder who cannot remain to help the hero, and the hero wielding a magic or shining sword; all elements incorporated into the story of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Campbell's publisher returned the favor by depicting an image of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker alongside mythological heroes such as Gilgamesh and Odysseus on the cover of a later edition of The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Lucas was also involved in the creation of the 1988 documentary which explored the works of Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth. The series of 6 one hour interviews between Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers, was filmed at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. In the first episode, Moyers discusses Campbell's friendship with Lucas and the impact of his scholarship on Lucas' Star Wars films (episodes IV,V, and VI). Twelve years later, in 1999, Lucas and Moyers reunited to make the documentary Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas & Bill Moyers in which they discussed their memories of Campbell and his influence. In addition, the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution sponsored an exhibit during the late 1990s called Star Wars: The Magic of Myth which discussed the ways in which Campbell's work shaped the Star Wars films. A companion guide of the same name was published in 1997.
* Lucas was raised as a Methodist but now states that he is "Spiritual"
* In his spare time, Lucas enjoys playing Star Wars video games with his children. He has also been known to read some of the Star Wars comic books, including Dark Empire. At one point, Lucas even said that he liked the story presented in the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project so much, that if he had had the story in the 80's, he might have produced a film based on the events in it.
* Friend Steven Spielberg called Lucas a pure independent filmmaker, as Lucas is very ensconced in Northern California in Marin County and the San Francisco area, and actively rejects the institutions of Hollywood.
* He based the character of Han Solo on his friend Francis Ford Coppola.
* The characters of Indiana Jones and Chewbacca the Wookie were inspired by his ex-wife's dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Indiana.
* His nickname in high school was Luke.
* Sold Lucasfilm's Computer Graphics Division (by then named Pixar) to Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs. It eventually became Pixar Animation Studios.
* Appeared as himself in a cameo in an episode of The O.C. ("The O.Sea", aired May 12, 2005).
* Diagnosed with AIDS, November 12, 2004
* Appeared in a cameo in Beverly Hills Cop III.
* Made as an action figure in 2002 with the name "Jorg Sacul". In 2006, a toy based on his appearance in Revenge of the Sith was created, as well as a mail-away special figure of George Lucas in Stormtrooper disguise. Jorg obviously reflects his first name. Sacul is Lucas backwards.
* Never attended his high school prom.
* The producers of Superman offered Lucas the chance to direct but declined saying he didn't think he could do a good job with the material.
* Lucas is known for protecting his franchise to which the invocation and/or appropriation of his creations by third parties has led to court battles - especially against hip-hop musicians Luther Campbell (for appropriating Luke Skywalker (spelled Skyywalker) for his stage name and record company) and Dr. Dre (for sampling the THX theme).
* In 1969, Lucas was hired to shoot the Rolling Stones in concert at the Altamont Music Festival.
* On October 11, 2006, Lucas appeared on The Colbert Report as "George L.", presumably a finalist to Colbert's "Green Screen Challenge".Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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