Ralph McQuarrie, the man responsible for the look of some of the most popular Star Wars characters, has passed way at the age of 82.
He was a conceptual artist and illustrator who worked with George Lucas on the original Star Wars trilogy, and that’s where Ralph McQuarrie has credit for creating the way we see characters such as R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader.
Other then Star Wars McQuarrie worked on several other films during his career that included, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series.
He received an Academy Award for his art work and illustrations for the 1985 movie “Cocoon.”
After learning of his passing Lucas said of McQuarrie, “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’.”
McQuarrrie was born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Montana. He served in the Korean War and survived being shot in the head during his services to the country. After the war he attended the Art Center in Pasadena, California.
At the time of his death he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. A note on his website after his death read, “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.”