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Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz has died

Gary Kurtz, producer of the first two instalments in the Star Wars series, has died in north London aged 78.

Kurtz worked with George Lucas on American Graffiti, the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. His other films included The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz.

Born in Los Angeles in 1940, Kurtz started out as an assistant director on Ride in the Whirlwind, a 1965 Western starring a pre-stardom Jack Nicholson.

After serving in the Marines in Vietnam, he began his long collaboration with Lucas.

His family issued the following statement:

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.

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