March 4th, 2012
01:35 AM ET

Star Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie dies

Ralph McQuarrie, the man credited with bringing director George Lucas' vision for "Star Wars" to the big screen, has died at the age of 82.

McQuarrie's conceptual designs were the basis for some of the trilogy's iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

A statement on McQuarrie's official website, posted after his death Saturday, said 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," it read.

Lucas said he was saddened by McQuarrie's passing, calling him a visionary artist and a humble man.

"Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars," Lucas said. "His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled 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 helped to create concept designs for the original Battlestar Galactica TV show, along with the movies "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

McQuarrie's conceptual work on the 1985 film, "Cocoon," won him the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. AMERICA 1st

    Its truly a loss of such a gifted genius. R.I.P. Mr. McQuarrie

    March 4, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. **cosmicVox *

    This Sucks, R.I.P. Mr. McQuarrie :-{

    March 4, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ronnie Raygun

    President Reagan's Star Wars program saved US from Soviet invasion. Right? President Bush's Terror Wars program saved US from invading terrorists. Right? Drug War program saved US from drugs. Right? "No Child Left Behind" saved US from stupid kids. Right? At least we knew going in that Star Wars was just a movie.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Star Wars Trivia

    The A-O Trucking Company moved much of the Star Wars set into storage, including hundreds of models and props, with each prop displaying the trademark symbol. ( Arizona State University's 2 year long program where every single NASA image of moonrocks they told US came from the moon were painstakingly digitally analyzed revealed a trademark symbol on one of them. Mums the word at NASA, but the Space Skuttle program was shuttled shortly afterwards.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Star Wars Trivia

    There were no man made flying saucers used during the filming of Star Wars. Not even one.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. RUFFNUTT (( 1/2 5th level magic-using kender ,1/4 illusionist ,1/4 warrior ))

    STARWARS is one of the most blatent racist movies ever made...
    .

    March 4, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT (( 1/2 5th level magic-using kender ,1/4 illusionist ,1/4 warrior ))

    luke and his friends can't stand that a black man is in charge and trying to bring a united peace to the galaxy....
    .

    March 4, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chinaman

    Ruke! Eyeam you farther. How much you owe.

    March 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
    He was a visionary.

    Ronnie's and Trivia's post makes sense only to the poster; he needs to drink more of his "Special Kool-Aid."

    March 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. **cosmicVox *

    Star Wars/ racist , does not compute.

    March 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The ROBOT

    Danger, Danger from Idiots Will Robinson!!

    March 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nicki

    Star Wars was one of the best memories of my childhood and taught us all about Good verses Evil which rarely happens in todays films. Sad how the world has gotten so cold and lonely. for me at least.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. **cosmicVox *

    @Nicki , so true, so true ...

    March 5, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |