Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie dies aged 82

Star Wars conceptual sketches by Ralph McQuarrie McQuarrie's conceptual designs for Stormtroopers were shown at the Star Wars: The Magic of the Myth exhibition

Related Stories

Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who helped George Lucas bring Star Wars to the big screen, has died aged 82.

The conceptual designer created the look of characters including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and R2-D2 and C-3PO.

He also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series and Steven Spielberg films ET and Cocoon, for which he won an Oscar.

A tribute on his website said: "We'll miss you Ralph. You will forever be the brightest star in our galaxy."

Born in Gary, Indiana, McQuarrie began his career as a technical illustrator for aeroplane manufacturer Boeing and designing film posters.

He also animated US TV network CBS's coverage of Nasa's Apollo space programme.

In 1975, he was hired by Lucas to design some of the characters and scenes for his "space opera" Star Wars.

Original artwork titled Bounty Hunters in Cloud City by Ralph McQuarrie McQuarrie worked on all three films in the original trilogy

As well as designing some of the sets including the desert planet Tatooine, McQuarrie also did the conceptual drawings for many characters.

His rewards included an uncredited role in the sequel The Empire Strikes Back, as General Pharl McQuarrie, and his own action figure.

In a statement, Lucas said: "His genial contribution, in the form of unequalled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.

"When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'do it like this'."

McQuarrie also designed the alien spaceships in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET.

In 1985, he was presented with an Academy Award for Visual Effects for the film Cocoon - about the residents of an old people's home given a new lease of life by visiting aliens.

The statement on his website praised "an especially kind, sensitive, deep, modest, funny and fascinating gentleman.

"His influence on design will be felt forever. There's no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone, somewhere will say... 'that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted'."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Entertainment & Arts stories

RSS

Features

  • OrangemanPunctured pride?

    How would N Ireland's Orangemen feel if Scotland left the union?


  • Sheep on Achill IslandMass exodus

    Why hundreds of thousands of people have left Ireland


  • MarchionessThames tragedy

    Survivors and victims' families remember Marchioness disaster


  • A teenaged mother in the Zaatari campUntold misery

    The plight of Syria's refugee child brides


  • Michael MosleyMeat feast?

    Which is the best eco option - eating beef, chicken or mussels?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.