Ralph McQuarrie, the artist whose conceptual paintings were instrumental in designing the landmark "Star Wars" films, has died at age 82. The announcement was made on his official website, ralphmcquarrie.com.
A commercial artist and designer whose career included stints at Boeing and Kaiser Graphic Arts and creating animations of Apollo space flights for CBS News, McQuarrie created the concept art that was crucial in winning 20th Century Fox's approval to put George Lucas' "Star Wars" in production.
|Click for a bigger and better view|
The success of his "Star Wars" paintings launched a late feature film career for McQuarrie that included helping design such classics as "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial," "Back to the Future," "Cocoon," "Total Recall," and the original TV series "Battlestar Galactica."
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man," George Lucas said in a statement. "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. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.'"
"In many ways, he was a generous father to a conceptual art revolution that was born of his artwork, and which seized the imaginations of thousands and propelled them into the film industry. In that way, we will all be benefiting from his oeuvre for generations to come," Lucas said.
"Beyond that, I will always remember him as a kind and patient, and wonderfully talented, friend and collaborator."