Ralph McQuarrie, 'Star Wars' Artist, Dead at 82

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  • Chewbacca
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Chewbacca, character from "Star Wars" designed by the late Ralph McQuarrie, will make an appearance on Fox's "Glee."
By Emma Koonse , Christian Post Reporter
March 5, 2012|9:53 am

"Star Wars" concept artist Ralph McQuarrie died at his home in Berkeley, Calif., at age 82 Saturday.

The designer was behind some of the iconic characters in "Star Wars," such as Darth Vader, Chewbecca, R2-D2, and C-3PO.

McQuarrie died of complications arising due to Parkinson's disease, according to The Washington Post.

His death was announced in a statement on McQuarrie's official website, and said his design influence will remain 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," said the online post.

"Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas expressed his grief over the loss of McQuarrie in a statement Sunday.

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"Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars," said Lucas. "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 would not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.'"

The concept art was also a part of designing "Star Wars" environments such as desert-like Tatooine, freezing Hoth, and Cloud City.

"Star Wars" actor Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, took to Twitter, paying McQuarrie tribute.

"Without his inspirational art I would not be C-3PO," wrote the actor. "I once said to him, 'This is all YOUR fault!' Then I thanked him."

Although many fans know McQuarrie best for his work on "Star Wars," he also worked on films such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T.," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," as well as the original television series "Battlestar Galactica." His work earned an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for the movie "Cocoon" in 1986.

In addition to film work, McQuarrie also designed book covers and advertisements. Also, he contributed animation to CBS for their coverage of the Apollo moon missions in the late 1960s.

On Twitter, McQuarrie's fans are posting their respect for the artist.

"RIP Ralph McQuarrie, an extraordinary artist whose work fueled my dreams, fantasies, and imagination," posted Simon. "His paintings will live forever."

The Hollywood Projects posted, "Trying to process Ralph McQuarrie's death. His Star Wars art books were one of my earliest geek obsession. Crushed."

McQuarrie is survived by his wife, Joan.

 

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