The most successful independent movie director of all time, and creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchise, Lucas has gained both fame and criticism over the years.
George Walton Lucas, Jr. was born in Modesto, California. His parents owned a stationary store and a walnut farm. Before getting in to movie making he wanted to become a race car driver, but a bad accident made him change his mind.
After that he developed a knack for cinematoghaphy and transfered to University of Southern California and became a protege of Francis Ford Coppola. His first film THX-1138:4EB was a flop but his second American Graffiti is still high on the list of the best low budget productions ever. The film featured young actors like Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss.
The production Lucas is most known for is the Star Wars saga. The first trilogy blew audiences across the globe away due to the amazing new special effects. Therefore Lucas chose to concentrate on the technical side of the production and founded Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound. Lucas chose to direct the first film, enduring much doubt from studio heads and people working on the film. The stress had serious psychical effects on Lucas. He chose to pass the torch to other directors (Irvin Kershner for Episode V and Richard Marquand for Episode VI).
Writing for the Star Wars films came from Lucas' childhood love of film serials like Flash Gordon and classic adventure stories. He originally wrote Star Wars as one film, but the grand scale of it all made it better as a saga. Lucas made the decision to start the saga of at the middle as another reference to the film serials. The Jedi characters were also references to the films of Akira Kurosawa. Jedis, like Samurai, fought with swords for honor.
Due to requests from fans around the world Lucas decided to make the other trilogy of the Star Wars saga 22 years after the first one was released. The new prequels which began with Episode I The Phantom Menace showed the development of Darth Vader (then Anakin Skywalker).
Anticipation for Episode I was some of the biggest ever seen for a film. It grossed almost $1 billion at the time. Fans and critics were divided. The new CGI effects dazzled eyeballs like when Star Wars first came out in '77, but the story left much to be desired. Lucas' decision to explain the mystical "Force" scientifically with Midichlorians and the cheesy references to the original trilogy did not sit well with fans.
His other widely known project was the Indiana Jones trilogy, now quadrilogy. This again featured Harrison Ford, like American Graffiti and Star Wars. He has received fame for the first three films but the last one Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal skull received a lot of criticism for the plotline and character development. The Jones films were directed by a longtime friend of Lucas Steven Spielberg. Lucas developed the stories, once again based on old adventure film serials.
Lucas is now participating in the Giving Pledge Program, where he and 39 other billionaires of America have decided to give up half their fortune for charity.
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|Credited Name||George Lucas|
|Birthday||May 14, 1944|