George Lucas. biography
Film director, writer and producer George Lucas was born on May 14, 1944, in Modesto, California, and first aspired to be a racecar driver before turning his attention to film.
After getting in a near fatal car accident, Lucas abandoned his racecar dream and attended community college where he discovered his undying passion for cinematography. He then enrolled in the University of Southern California film school and produced his first short sci-fi film THX-1138:4EB with the help of Francis Ford Coppola.
Despite Coppola convincing Warner Brothers to turn the short into a feature film and the film flopping in 1971, Lucas continued to propel his film career forward with his next film American Graffiti (1973), which cost him $780,000 to make and grossed over $50 million in the box office. The film earned Lucas multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture and is seen as one of the most successful low budget projects in film history.
In 1977, Lucas grabbed the world’s attention when he released a film set in a galaxy far, far away, called Star Wars. Made for $11 million, the hit film grossed more than $513 million and led Lucas to extend the fantasy-filled story in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); leaving fans wanting more.
Also during this time, Lucas created a special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and his personal commercial-sized film studio near his home in Marin County, California. In 1993, ILM made a substantial amount of profit when it produced the dinosaur film Jurassic Park, which in turn motivated Lucas to return to the Star Wars franchise with three additional prequels.
The first segment, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) debuted to disgruntled fans and dismal reviews, due to the overly childish characters and jam-packed storyline. Star Wars: Episode II (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) failed to gain the same response as the original trilogy, but Lucas’ natural talent for visual effects overcame all other criticism. The negative response did not sit well with Lucas and he claimed that he had further Star Wars films in the works, but would not make them. In late October 2012, however, Lucas announced that he had sold the Star Wars franchise to The Walt Disney Co. for over $4 billion. The two powerhouses are currently working on the next sequels.
Aside from Star Wars, Lucas wrote and produced Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Captain EO (1986), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), the TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992 – 1993) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
Lucas’ most recent projects include, Star Wars: Episode VII (2015), Indiana Jones 5 (release date unknown), Star Wars: Episode VIII (unknown), Star Wars: Episode IX (unknown) and the TV series Star Wars: Underworld (unknown).