George Lucas

From Academic Kids

George Lucas
George Lucas

George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter famous for his epic Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones trilogy.



Lucas was born in Modesto, California, where his father, George Walton Lucas, Sr., ran a stationery store. Lucas attended Downey High School and was interested in racecar driving; he dreamed of becoming a professional racecar driver. For better or worse, that dream was abruptly ended in his early adulthood when he crashed his Fiat Bianchina in a car accident. During the 1960s, Lucas studied cinema in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, one of the earliest universities to have a school devoted to film studies. There he made a number of short films, including an early version of THX1138, later to become his first full-length feature film.

After graduating, he co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola, hoping to create a liberating environment for filmmakers to direct outside the perceived oppressive control of the Hollywood studio system. American Zoetrope never really succeeded, but 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, is 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. In fact, Lucas and Spielberg had been acquaintances for some time and eventually worked together on several films, notably the first Indiana Jones vehicle, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Along with Spielberg, Lucas is credited with establishing the blockbuster approach to filmmaking.

On a return on investment basis, Star Wars proved to be 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 $3 billion. In 2005 estimated the lifetime revenue generated by the Star Wars franchise at nearly $20 billion.

Lucas was fined by the Directors Guild of America for refusing to have a standard title sequence in his Star Wars films. After paying the fine, he quit the guild. This made it hard for him to find a director for some of his later projects. He wanted his friend, Steven Spielberg, to direct some of the later Star Wars movies, but since Spielberg was a member of the guild, he couldn't work on Lucas' films.

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. [1] (

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


Besides his directorial and production work on movies, Lucas is the most significant contemporary contributor to modern movie technology. In 1975 Lucas established Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) in Van Nuys, CA, which was responsible for the invention of the special computer assisted camera crane "Dykstraflex" that was used for most of the space fight sequences used in the Star Wars movies (technology which was later adopted by most other visual effects production units, such as those responsible for "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation"). Through ILM, Lucas spurred the further development of computer graphics, film laser scanners and the earliest use of 3D computer character animation in a film, Young Sherlock Holmes. Lucas sold his early computer development unit to Steve Jobs in 1988, which was renamed Pixar.

Lucas is also responsible for the modern sound systems found in many movie theaters. Though Lucas didn't invent THX, he is responsible for its development.

Now Lucas is spearheading digital photography for movies. Though personal digital photography is now mainstream, most movie studios still use traditional cameras and film for movie production. Lucas departed from this model by filming Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones almost completely digitally. He showed the result to a select audience of the Hollywood elite, before the movie's general release. For the presentation, Lucas used a special digital projection system. The attendees said the movie had the clearest and sharpest presentation they had ever seen.

Despite the successful demonstration of the technology, movie studios are slow to move to this new model, in part because of the high price of the digital equipment. But digital movie photography has several advantages:

  • Digital editing is much easier and less expensive since the movie is already in digital form.
  • Delivery of movies to cinemas is much cheaper since the digital media is much smaller than traditional reels which can weigh hundreds of pounds.
  • Movies stored digitally are not susceptible to decay and degradation in quality.
  • Transferring digital movies to DVD is much cheaper since both forms are digital.

Most notable movies

External links



  • "Life after Darth": ( an indepth look at George Lucas's artistic influences and future aspirations from Wiredca:George Lucas

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