Date of Birth14 May 1944, Modesto, California, USA
Birth NameGeorge Walton Lucas Jr.
Height5' 7" (1.70 m)
Mini BiographyGeorge Lucas was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teens he went to Downey High School and was very much interested in drag car racing. He planned to become a professional racecar driver. However a terrible car accident just after his high school graduation ended that dream permanently. The accident changed his views on life. He decided to attend Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school. As a film student he made several short films including THX-1138: 4EB (Electronic Labyinth) which won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship by Warner Brothers to observe the making of Finian's Rainbow (1968) which was being directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Lucas and Coppola became good friends and formed a company called American Zoetrope in 1969. The company's first project was Lucas' full-length version of THX 1138 (1971). In 1971, Coppola went into production for The Godfather (1972), and Lucas formed his own company, Lucasfilm Ltd. In 1973 he wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical American Graffiti (1973) which won the Golden Globe and garnered five Academy Award nominations. This gave him the clout he needed for his next daring venture. From 1973 to 1974 he began writing the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). He was inspired to make this movie from Flash Gordon and the Planet of the Apes films. In 1975 he established ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) to produce the visual effects needed for the movie. Another company called Sprocket Systems was established to edit and mix Star Wars and later becomes known as Skywalker Sound. His movie was turned down by several studios until Twentieth Century Fox gave him a chance. Lucas agreed to forgo his directing salary in exchange for 40% of the film's box-office take and all merchandising rights. The movie went on to break all box office records and earned seven Academy Awards. It redefined the term "blockbuster". The rest is history. Lucas made the other Star Wars films and along with 'Steven Spielberg' created the Indiana Jones series which made box office records of their own. From 1980 to 1985 Lucas was busy with the construction of Skywalker Ranch, built to accommodate the creative, technical, and administrative needs of Lucasfilm. Lucas also revolutionized movie theaters with the THX System which was created to maintain the highest quality standards in motion picture viewing. He went on to make several more movies that have created major breakthroughs in film making. He is chairman of the board of The George Lucas Educational Foundation. In 1992 George Lucas was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his lifetime achievement.
|Marcia Lucas||(22 February 1969 - 1983) (divorced)|
Trade MarkLetters/numbers THX-1138 (name of his first "real" movie) appears in many films: The licence plate number on Milner's deuce coupe in American Graffiti (1973) was THX 138. A battle droid who captures Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans has the number 1138 written on his back. In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Luke Skywalker said (with reference to Chewbacca) "Prisoner transfer from cell block 1138." In Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), General Rieekan says, "Send Rogues ten and eleven (11) to station three-eight (38)."
His films usually feature a battle scene which takes place around a large shaft or pit.
Characters he has created often have "a bad feeling about this" (as in all of the Star Wars movies and in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008))
Stunning visual effects sequences, provided by Lucas's own special effects company, ILM.
Abstract and innovative sound design (THX 1138 (1971), Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)).
According to Lucas, one of the themes in all of his films is man's relationship to machines and technology - either controlling them, or being controlled by them.
High-energy action scenes using fast-paced montage (Includes all films in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series).
Frequently uses the famous "Wilhelm Scream" sound effect in his films. This sound effect has been used in dozens of movies.
TriviaThree adopted children: Amanda Lucas (aka Amanda Lucas, b. 1981), Katie Lucas (b. 1988), and Jett Lucas(b. 1993).
Graduated from USC's school of cinema (1962)
Shortly before graduating high school, he was involved in a high speed car accident that left him hospitalized and near death
Lucas provided all the funding for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
For 2nd consecutive year, ranked No. 4 on Entertainment Weekly's annual list of "101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment." Ranked just ahead of Steven Spielberg and just behind the power couple that runs Time Warner Turner media empire.
Sits on USC School of Cinema-Television's Board of Councilors.
In the 2001 edition of the Forbes' "400 Richest People In America", it is reported that Lucas' fortune is $3 billion.
He is a diabetic.
He has created the image of always being on the cutting edge of technology. However, when he writes, he does it in longhand in a loose leaf binder rather than on a word processor.
He was so impressed with relatively unknown stage actor James Wheaton that he cast him over studio objections in the voiceover role of "OMM" in THX 1138 (1971). The studio wanted Orson Welles to play the role.
His script for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was turned down by every major Hollywood studio, the reason being that no one would want to see it. In a last ditch attempt, Lucas approached 20th Century Fox who decided to go ahead with the script even though they were convinced it would flop. Star Wars ended up becoming the highest grossing movie ever released at that time. It still ranks as one of the highest grossing movies ever made to this day.
Sold Lucasfilm's Computer Graphics Division to Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, and it later became Pixar Animation Studio.
His name backwards is Egroeg Sacul. This name is also used in the Disney theme park ride Star Tours (1987).
Rewrote the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) to tighten it up due to the fact that the scene would have been too busy. It originally ended with the mine-car chase that was later added to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
Conceived Indiana Jones while on vacation with his friend Steven Spielberg in Hawaii. Lucas decided to produce while Spielberg would direct.
Was engaged to longtime girlfriend Linda Ronstadt.
With THX 1138 (1971) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Lucas re-invented the way sound was used in films. Using it in both a linear and abstract way, to tell the story, he pushed sound design to the forefront of the filmmaking process.
Refuses to put "critics quotes" on his movie posters. Something that infuriates many critic societies.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 605-610. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
He based the character of Han Solo on his friend Francis Ford Coppola.
He originally wanted his friend Steven Spielberg to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), but his dispute with the Director's Guild barred him from doing so. He settled for director Richard Marquand instead.
Became so stressed during the filming of the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) that he checked himself into a hospital, where he was diagnosed with hyper-tension.
Said that Alec Guinness was very helpful to him during the filming of the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) even to the point of getting the other actors to work more seriously.
Disowned Howard the Duck (1986) after the film's release.
When he began his apprenticeship at Warner Brothers, what he wanted to see most was the Animation Department. He claims that the day he arrived on the lot was the very day the Animation Department was closed down.
Despite a reputation as Hollywood blockbusters, all of the Star Wars films are actually independent films, with the exception of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The only way he could get the required funding to make the film was to apply for studio funding. With the success of the film and its merchandising, Lucas no longer needed to go to the studios. For Episodes V and VI, he took out bank loans, which he paid off on each films' earnings. For the Prequel Trilogy, he no longer needed bank loans, having made enough money to fund each film out of his own personal savings.
He made what was at the time an unusual deal for the film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Paramount financed the film's entire $20 million budget. In exchange, Lucas would own over 40% of the film and collect almost half of the profits after the studio a grossed a certain amount. It turned out to be a very lucrative deal for Lucas. Paramount executive Michael Eisner said that he felt the script for the film was the best he had ever read.
Won the American Film Institute's Life Time Achievement Award.
His favorite stage of filmmaking is editing the film together.
His nickname in high school was Luke. This later became the name of the hero of his original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker.
He originally wanted to do a film adaptation of Flash Gordon, but he could not obtain the rights, so he created Star Wars instead, which was in a similar vein to Flash Gordon.
Used the 1927 U.F.A. film "Metropolis" as guidelines for some of his Star Wars characters - the "robotic man" for "C3PO" and the "robots creator" as "Anakin Skywalker." Both the creator and Anakin lost a hand. The "robotic man's creator" loses his hand while building the robot.
Became rich almost overnight due to him keeping the rights to Star Wars and not selling them outright to Twentieth Century Fox.
In the 2005 edition of Forbes' "400 Richest People in America" list, his net worth is estimated at $3.5 billion. He and good friend Steven Spielberg are the only filmmakers on the list.
Plans to reissue all of the Star Wars movies in 3-D versions using the Dimensionalization process by ILM. The process was first used in Chicken Little (2005).
Had a dog named 'Indiana' which not only inspired the Indiana Jones character, but Chewbacca from Star Wars was also modelled around the way the dog looked.
He received a medal from US president George Bush for outstanding achievement in improvements in technology in movies made by his special effects company ILM
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), AKA as "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope" is ranked #39 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
Grand marshal, Tournament of Roses parade 
He, his mentor Francis Ford Coppola, and friend Steven Spielberg presented Martin Scorsese with his first ever Oscar for Best Director for The Departed (2006).
Is a fan of "Doctor Who" (1963).
Skywalker Ranch, Lucas' film production facility, covers an area of some 3,000 acres in Northern California's Marin County hills. The precise address is: 5858 Lucas Valley Road, Nicasio, CA, 94946. The facility employs around 200 personnel, is home to a baseball field, a vineyard, 3 restaurants and a fire station, not to mention the array of hi-tech amenities. The fact that Skywalker Ranch is located off Lucas Valley Road is pure coincidence.
Graduated from Modesto's Roosevelt Junior High school in 1958.
Rankings on Premiere's annual Power 100 List - 2002: #14; 2003: #10; 2004: #16; 2005: #11.
Quit the DGA after some disputes over the opening credits in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). The movie had no opening credits and the DGA fined Lucas with $250.000, which he paid, and eventually quit.
George Lucas has been in a relationship with Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, LLC, since 2007.
Lucas supported Barack Obama for President in 2008. With girlfriend, Mellody Hobson, he attended the "We Are One" Presidential Pre-Inaugural Concert on 18 January 2009.
As a fan of "Family Guy" (1999), he occasionally gives the producers the clearance to do "Star Wars" gags on the show.
George Lucas's close friend John Landis was originally slated to direct Howard the Duck (1986) but after reading the script turned down the opportunity due to the police car crashes in the finale. He felt this was too similar to that of his previous film The Blues Brothers (1980).
During pre-production of Empire Strikes Back (1980) George created a phony working title - not for fan purposes, but to save money. Vendors and service providers, upon getting wind of the next Star Wars picture, were doubling their prices.
Lives in San Anselmo, California.
Has directed 2 actors to Oscar nominations: Candy Clark (Best Supporting Actress, American Graffiti (1973)) and Alec Guinness (Best Supporting Actor, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)).
Close friends with Steven Spielberg.
Personal QuotesA special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.
The sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.
The script is what you've dreamed up-this is what it should be. The film is what you end up with.
I am simply trying to struggle through life; trying to do God's bidding.
On the making of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977): "When you're directing, you have to get up at four thirty [A.M], have breakfast at five, leave the hotel at six, drive an hour to location, start shooting at eight, and finish shooting around six. Then you wrap, go to your office, and set up the next day's work. You get back to the hotel about eight or nine, hopefully get a bite to eat, then you go to your room and figure out your homework, how you're going to shoot the next day's scenes, then you go to sleep. The next morning it starts all over again."
I took over control of the merchandising not because I thought it was going to make me rich, but because I wanted to control it. I wanted to make a stand for social, safety, and quality reasons. I didn't want someone using the name 'Star Wars' on a piece of junk.
The object is to try to get the (movie) system to work for you, instead of against you. And the only way you can do it is through success, I'm afraid.
Making a film is like putting out a fire with sieve. There are so many elements, and it gets so complicated.
To be renewed is everything. What more could one ask for than to have one's youth back again?
"He is his own man, he is not a son anymore, he is an equal." - describing Luke Skywalker after his duel with Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
I wanted to make abstract films that are emotional, and I still do.
From being a struggling, starving filmmaker to being incredibly successful in a period of a couple of years is quite a powerful experience, and not necessarily a good one.
I've had a very volatile relationship with Francis (Ford Coppola). It's on both sides, like we were married and we got divorced. It's as close a relationship as I've had with anybody.
If you can tune into the fantasy life of an 11-year-old girl, you can make a fortune in this business.
Regarding Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005): "Right or wrong this is my movie, this is my decision, and this is my creative vision, and if people don't like it, they don't have to see it."
I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them.
On Gangs of New York (2002): We showed a print of it at the Skywalker Ranch. I was amazed by what he (Scorsese) did with it and where he went. It was terrific.
The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.
I've worked hard enough and earned enough to fail for the rest of my life. And I'm gonna do it!! - About making art films that he admits no one will want to see.
When asked what it was like to watch Steven Spielberg direct: It's like watching Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison. It's like watching Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, any genius you can name.
Part of the reason I went back to tell the prequel, of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, is that it's an interesting story and a fun one to tell. Because it is the story of how a good person turns bad.
"I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them." - expressing concern over the Colorization of black & white films
"Thank you. Thank you all. This is a very, very important award for me. Star Wars, oddly enough, doesn't really get that many awards. I'm not a big favorite with the critics, but who listens to them? I'm not a big industry favorite either, but of course they are a bunch of studio executives. The most important people for any filmmaker, the reason that I make films, is for you! The audience rules! Thank you. Thank you very much!" - while receiving the Best Movie award for Revenge Of The Sith at the Peoples Choice Awards.
With film, if you get a million people to see your movie on the first weekend, you've made about $5 million. That basically will not end up on the top-10 chart. You have to get 10 million people on the first weekend. And if you don't do it in two days, you're basically out of the theaters and into the DVD market. There's just an ecology there. If you're a mouse, don't expect to kill a lion, because it ain't gonna happen. If you want to have that kind of power, it's better to be a lion, because the mice are fine - you can have a life and everything - but the lions are the ones out there prowling and scaring the hell out of everybody.
Yeah, I have a few dollars, but when you're getting up to the point where the average movie costs $80 million, anything under $20 million is pretty cheap. Anything under $10 million is almost impossible. And anything under $5 million is Roger Corman.
[on film critics] "There are a few critics overseas, and occasionally a critic will write an astute analysis of the movie. There is value in reading critics that actually have something intelligent to say, but the journalistic community lives in a world of sound bites and literary commerce: selling newspapers, selling books, and they do that simply by trashing things. They don't criticize or analyze them. They simply trash them for the sake of a headline, or to shock people to get them to buy whatever it is they're selling."
[on critics] "You have to have a thick enough skin to cope with the criticism. I'm very self-critical and I have a lot of friends that I trust who are film directors and writers and people in my profession. I trust them to be extremely critical but I trust their opinion; their opinion is thoughtful, knowledgeable. I also know them personally so I know the psychological slant they are putting on it. I know what their tastes are and I can say, "Well that's great for them but that's not great for me." Technical criticism is extremely helpful but you are only going to get that from your peers. "
None of the films I've done was designed for a mass audience, except for Indiana Jones. Nobody in their right mind thought American Graffiti or Star Wars would work.
[About THX-1138] My first film was a parable about the way we are living our lives today. I realize it was a rather depressing statement. People really weren't interested in a depressing statement. Being a pessimist doesn't seem to accomplish anything.
[About the origin of Chewbacca] There was a dog in American Graffiti, but I didn't use Indiana for the part because it was a night scene and I wanted a white dog. My wife was very upset that I didn't put my own dog in the movie; so I said I'd put Indiana's spirit in the next one. And that's how the Wookiee came into being.
[About the upcoming 2008 film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"] When you do a movie like this, a sequel that's very, very anticipated, people anticipate ultimately that it's going to be the Second Coming. And it's not. It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up... You're not going to get a lot of accolades... All you can do is lose.
Honestly, everyone feels you have to talk about yourself all the time. They say I'm introverted because I don't give many interviews. But I don't give many interviews because I don't make many films.
On the influence of Star Wars on Hollywood films: People say my movies are just like Hollywood movies. And I say, "I can't help it if Hollywood copies."
I am the father of our Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) movie world - the filmed entertainment, the features and now the animated film and television series. And I'm going to do a live-action television series. Those are all things I am very involved in: I set them up and I train the people and I go through them all. I'm the father; that's my work. Then we have the licensing group, which does the games, toys and books, and all that other stuff. I call that the son - and the son does pretty much what he wants. Then we have the third group, the holy ghost, which is the bloggers and fans. They have created their own world. I worry about the father's world. The son and holy ghost can go their own way.
My greatest regret in my career is that John [Landis] was unable to direct Howard the Duck. I feel the movie would have been far more successful and saved me the years of hardship following its release. - on John Landis turning down directing Howard the Duck (1986)
People think of me as a sort of pathological, Howard Hughes-type guy sitting in a hotel room, which is definitely not so.
[On why he waited so long to do the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) prequels] Jurassic Park (1993) inspired me. I didn't have to use rubber masks. I could build digital characters that can act and perform and walk around and interact with actors. I can use digital sets. I can paint reality. In essence, it means that cinema has gone from being a photographic medium to a painterly one.
[On James Cameron's Avatar (2009)] Creating a universe is daunting. I'm glad Jim is doing it - there are only a few people in the world who are nuts enough to. I did it with Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and now he's trying to challenge that. It's a lot of work. I do believe Jim will take this further out than anyone's ever conceived of.
[On Akira Kurosawa] Kurosawa was one of film's true greats. His ability to transform a vision into a powerful work of art is unparalleled.
[On the Imperial walkers in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)] The walkers, if anything, were inspired by the original novel of "War of the Worlds" where the Martians walked on giant spiders that walked on legs. I was trying to come up with a way of making this battle different and unusual without putting tanks and normal military stuff in there... They're tall because I wanted the speeders to fly under them to make a more dynamic kind of battle out of it. And again I was struggling with the fact that in the first film I had this big space battle at the end of the movie but in this movie there wasn't anything like that.
|Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)||$400,000,000|
|Body Heat (1981)||$250,000 + 5% of profits|
|Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)||$2,500,000 + net profits|
|Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)||$200,000 + 40% of the net profits|
|American Graffiti (1973)||$50,000 + 15% of gross|
|THX 1138 (1971)||$15,000|
|The Rain People (1969)||$3,000|
|Finian's Rainbow (1968)||$3,000|