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Ralph McQuarrie died today at the age of 82
By GustavoLeao / 21:59, 3 March 2012
The world of science fiction art and design has lost one of its true legends as Ralph McQuarrie died today at the age of 82. McQuarrie worked on designs for Star Wars and also created designs for the never filmed Star Trek movie Planet of Titans for which he created a new U.S.S. Enterprise.
He worked as a consultant and concept artist for Star Trek IV The Voyage Home.
Ralph McQuarrie (June 13, 1929 – March 3, 2012) was a conceptual designer and illustrator who designed the original Star Wars trilogy, the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.
Impressed with his work, director George Lucas met with him to discuss his plans for a space-fantasy film. Several years later, in 1975, Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate several scenes from the script of the film, Star Wars. McQuarrie designed many of the film's characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO and drew many concepts for the film's sets. McQuarrie's concept paintings, including such scenes as R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine, helped convince 20th Century Fox to fund Star Wars, which became a huge success upon release in 1977. Neil Kendricks of The San Diego Union-Tribune stated McQuarrie "holds a unique position when it comes to defining much of the look of the "Star Wars" universe." McQuarrie noted "I thought I had the best job that an artist ever had on a film, and I had never worked on a feature film before. [...] I still get fan mail — people wondering if I worked on Episode I or just wanting to have my autograph."
McQuarrie went on to work as the conceptual designer on the film's two sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
McQuarrie played the uncredited role of General Pharl McQuarrie in The Empire Strikes Back. An action figure in his likeness as "General McQuarrie" was produced. Action figures based on McQuarrie's concept art, including conceptual versions of the Imperial Stormtrooper, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and other characters have also been made.
McQuarrie designed the alien ships in Steven Spielberg's films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), while his work as the conceptual artist on the 1985 film Cocoon earned him the Academy Award for Visual Effects. He also worked on the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica, and the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, *batteries not included and Jurassic Park.