George Walton Lucas Jr (born May 14, 1944) is an American film director, famous for his epic Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies. Star Wars in 1977 is considered by some to be the first "high concept" film, although others feel the first was Steven Spielberg's Jaws.
Lucas was born in Modesto, California, where his father, George Walton Lucas, Sr., ran a stationery store. Lucas attended Downey High School and was interested in racecar driving; he dreamed of becoming a professional racecar driver. However, a terrible automobile accident abruptly ended that dream, changing his views on life. During the 1960s, Lucas studied cinema in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, one of the earliest universities to have a school devoted to film studies. There he made a number of short films, including an early version of THX1138, later to become his first full-length feature film.
After graduating, he co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola, hoping to create a liberating environment for filmmakers to direct in outside the perceived oppressive control of the Hollywood studio system.
American Zoetrope never really succeeded, but from the financial success of his films American Graffiti and Star Wars, Lucas was able to set up his own studio, Lucasfilm, in Marin County in his native northern California. Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic, the sound and visual effects subdivisions of Lucasfilm, respectively, have become among the most respected firms in their fields. Lucasfilm Games, later renamed to LucasArts, is highly regarded in the computer games industry.
Lucas was fined by the Directors Guild of America for refusing to have a standard title sequence in his Star Wars films. After paying the fine, he quit the guild.
On October 3, 1994, Lucas started to write the three Star Wars prequels, and on November 1 that year, he left the day-to-day operations of his filmmaking business and started a sabbatical to finish the prequels.
As the father of three adopted children, Lucas is the founder and chairman of the board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which focuses on project-based learning that stimulates children’s passions and emphasizes well-prepared teachers to improve student learning.
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