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Monday, March 5, 2012

Artist leaves behind a legacy of characters: Darth Vader for one

Artist Ralph McQuarrie.
The artist who brought George Lucas' dreams to life -- Ralph McQuarrie --has died. He was 82 years old.

High on the list of amazing characters to his credit is Darth Vader. He also worked on Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film ET, Battlestar Galactica and the science fiction film Cocoon, for which he won an Oscar.

Lucas released a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the death of "such a visionary artist and such a humble man."

"His genial contribution, in the form of unequalled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy," said Lucas. "When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.’"

StarWars.com/Concept by Ralph MQuarrie.
When Lucas, who described McQuarrie as father to a conceptual art revolution, made his “Star Wars” pitch to Alan Ladd Jr. at 20th Century Fox, he did so with a table full of Ralph's art.

McQuarrie not only captured the visions of geniuses such as Lucas and Spielberg through his illustrations, but seized the world's imagination in the process.

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