Real name: George Walton Lucas Jr.
Partner: Marcia Lucas (1969-1983)
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George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is a four-time Academy Award nominated American film director, producer, and screenwriter famous for his epic Star Wars saga and Indiana Jones films — the latter a collaboration with his friend Steven Spielberg. He is one of American film industry's most financially successful independent directors and producers, with an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion.
During this time an experimental filmmaker named Bruce Baillie tacked up a bedsheet in his backyard in 1960 to screen the work of underground, avant-garde 16 mm filmmakers like Jordan Belson, Stan Brakhage and Bruce Conner. For the next few years, Baillie's series, dubbed Canyon Cinema, toured local coffeehouses, where art films shared the stage with folksingers and stand-up comedians.
"That's when George really started exploring," Plummer recalls. "We went to a theater on Union Street that showed art movies, we drove up to San Francisco State for a film festival, and there was an old beatnik coffeehouse in Cow Hollow with shorts that were really out there." It was a season of awakening for Lucas, who had been a D-plus slacker in high school.
At an autocross track, Lucas met his first mentor in the film industry - famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, a fellow aficionado of sleek racing machines. Wexler was impressed by the way the shy teenager handled a camera, cradling it low on his hips to get better angles. "George had a very good eye, and he thought visually," he recalls.
Some consider Star Wars to be the first "high concept" film, although others feel the first was Steven Spielberg's Jaws, released two years prior. Lucas and Spielberg had been good friends for some time and eventually worked together on several films, notably the Indiana Jones movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008)
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.
Lucas was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Directing and Writing for American Graffiti, and Best Directing and Writing for Star Wars. He also received the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1991. He appeared at the 79th Academy Awards ceremony in 2007 with Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola to present the Best Director award. During the speech, Spielberg and Coppola talked about the joy of winning an Oscar, making fun of Lucas, who has not won a competitive Oscar.
In 2005, Lucas gave US$1 million to help build the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. George Lucas at the Time 100 2006 gala.
On September 19, 2006, USC announced that George Lucas had donated $175 million to his alma mater to expand the film school. It is the largest single donation to USC.
Lucas was born and raised in a strongly Methodist family. After inserting religious themes into Star Wars he would eventually come to identify strongly with the Eastern religious philosophies he studied and incorporated into his movies, which were a major inspiration for "the Force." Lucas eventually came to state that his religion was "Christian Buddhist."