George Lucas is one of the most influential film makers in Hollywood history. He is also the guiding force behind Star Wars and its sequels. The Star Wars movies tell the story of the rebels Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo as they battle the evil imperial forces of Darth Vader. These films became some the most popular motion pictures in history.
Lucas was born in Modesto, California, and educated at Modesto Junior College and the University of Southern California, graduating from the university in 1966. His first love was auto-racing, but a near fatal accident forced him out of the sport and into film making. His career began with his prize-winning student film THX-1138, a science fiction story that he reworked as his
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Shooting took months of eighteen-hour days, with Lucas overseeing the tiniest details until, at one point, he was hospitalized for hypertension. Lucas thought that the film would bomb at the box office, but a friend called him and told him what a success it was. People got out of the movie, and then got in line again. Star Wars grossed over $400 million dollars on it's initial run alone. It also created a giant merchandise business. The stress of directing Star Wars led Lucas to hire Irvin Kershner to direct the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. After Star Wars, Lucas retired from directing and instead focused on producing films and overseeing Industrial Light & Magic, a company he founded in 1975 to create special audio and visual effects for movies and television. He served as Exec. Producer for the Star Wars sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
In 1980, he was the executive producer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg, which won five Academy Awards. He was also the co-executive producer and creator of the story for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The film, released in 1984, earned two Academy Award nominations and won an Oscar for its visual effects.
Lucas' next project was the adventure-fantasy film Willow. Based on an original story by Lucas, the film was directed by Ron Howard and executive-produced by Lucas. Willow was