Gary Kurtz, producer of iconic movies such as Star Wars and The Dark Crystal died Sunday September 23rd. The film maker helped send audiences to a galaxy far far away with 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and 1980’s Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Born on July 27th, 1940 in Los Angeles, Kurtz got his start in the film industry in 1965 as an assistant director in the film Beach Ball. His final film as an executive producer, Gangster Kittens, released in 2016. He starred in both The Godfather TV mini-series released in 1974 and 1977.
Kurtz went on to co-produced the film American Graffiti in 1973 with director George Lucas. The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He was also nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award for his work on Star Wars.
An article posted to the official Star Wars site reads.
A man of immense talent and intelligence, Kurtz will be missed greatly by Lucasfilm, and we’ll remember his many contributions to Star Wars and film.”
The Hollywood Reporter says in a statement given to them from his family.
Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and mentor, whose work and talent spanned filmmaking, photography, music, and cinema history,” the statement read. “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.”
Celebrities posting their thoughts and tributes about the passing on social media.
Mark Hamill tweeted,
I’ve lost a lifelong friend. The world has lost a kind, wise, multitalented artist & filmmaker.”
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.#RIPGaryKurtz pic.twitter.com/1tNRAgCGbq
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 24, 2018
Peter Mayhew, the man behind everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca, said,
Without him there would have been no “force.”
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. #ESB #starwars #americangraffiti @starwars pic.twitter.com/0D9RyP3DJH
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) September 24, 2018
Kurtz died of cancer on Sunday, September 23rd in London. He was 78 years old.
Scott’s been gaming since he could hold a controller in his hands. He’s a journalist who loves Dungeons and Dragons, video games, tabletop RPGs, and comic books. He has an intelligence of 6, he knows what he’s doing.