Monday, September 24, 2018

'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz Has Passed Away

By: Dominic Jones

One of the people who was instrumental in getting the original Star Wars film made in 1977 has passed away.  Gary Kurtz, who served as producer on Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) died yesterday after a battle with cancer.  In addition to his work on Star Wars, Kurtz also produced American Graffiti (1973), The Dark Crystal (1982), and Return to Oz (1985).  Kurtz was 78.

His family released a statement on the Kurtz Joiner Archive Facebook page, which you can read below,

With deep love and respect, the family of Gary Kurtz is sad to share that he has passed away. He died from cancer on September 23rd 2018, in North London, England.

Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and mentor, whose work and talent spanned filmmaking, photography, music, and cinema history. He was a Marine, a world traveller, an outdoorsman, and a kind, compassionate human being.

His life’s work was to share the wonder of audio-visual storytelling through the art of film. Well-known for his work as the producer of American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Crystal, Gary was passionate about telling stories that shared the humanity of characters in entertaining ways for audiences around the world. 

Gary was a magnificent man, who will be hugely missed. His whole family thanks you for your loving thoughts.
The importance of Kurtz's contributions to the early days of Star Wars cannot be understated, as he worked closely with George Lucas as they struggled to get their strange little science-fiction movie made.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

The Kurtz Joiner Archive released a statement celebrating his entire career, which you can read below,

Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in the Original Trilogy was first to tweet his condolensces to the Kurtz family this morning, saying, "RIP Gary Kurtz. A great filmmaker and man has just passed. Without him there would have been no "force". You will be remembered in the incredible films you made that touched the lives of millions."
Luke Skywalker actor, Mark Hamill, also sent out a tweet about Kurtz, which read, "I've lost a lifelong friend. The world has lost a kind, wise, multi-talented artist & filmmaker whose contributions to cinema cannot be overstated. It was an honor to have worked with him & I know I am better man just for having known him".

Lucasfilm also released a statement on eulogizing Kurtz, which you can read here.

R.I.P. Gary Kurtz (1940-2018).

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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