Owner of Lucasfilm, Ltd.
In the last 20 years, George Lucas has avoided the spotlight and the director's chair. But for the first time since the original Star Wars, George has returned to the director's chair to helm the soon-to-be-mega-blockbuster, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace . . .
Considered by many to be the greatest mythological story teller of his generation, George Lucas is the creator of the phenomenally successful Star Wars saga and Indiana Jones series, and is Chairman of the Board of Lucasfilm Limited, LucasArts Entertainment Company, and Lucas Digital Limited. Lucas' vision as storyteller, mythmaker and profitmaker, his zeal for innovation, and his leadership in forging a new relationship between entertainment and technology has revolutionized the art of motion pictures. Add to these impressive and unparalled achievments, the fact that in the early-1970's, George Lucas had only a few dollars to his name, but by the late 1990's, Lucas had amassed a personal fortune that is rumored to be in the billions of dollars.
With the impending release of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, which are not only the most anticipated films in movie history, but are also the most anticipated stories in the history of mankind, Lucas' personal fortune is expected to skyrocket to as high as $ 10 to $ 15 billion. More important than this mere material wealth is the fact that Lucas is a single father of three wonderful children, while still maintaining a full head of hair, which is completely natural and he also has access to the best Star Wars toys and computer games in the galaxy. He may be the luckiest man on earth at the moment.
George Lucas was born in Modesto, California, where he attended Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school. As a student at USC, Lucas made several short films, including Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138: 4EB, which took first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival. Lucas' mastery and genius in the film medium became immediately apparent and unquestioned by all those around him.
In 1967, Warner Brothers awarded him a scholarship to observe the filming of Finian's Rainbow, directed by UCLA grad Francis Coppola. Ironically, Warner Brothers has never profited from any of Lucas' mega-hit films.
The following year, Lucas worked as Coppola's assistant on The Rain People and made a short film entitled Film Maker about the directing of the movie.
Lucas and Coppola shared a common vision of starting an independent film production company where a community of writers, producers, and directors could share ideas. In 1969, the two filmmakers moved to Northern California, where they founded American Zoetrope. The company's first project was Lucas' full-length version of THX:1138. In 1971, Coppola went into production for The Godfather, and Lucas formed his own company, Lucasfilm Ltd.
In 1973, Lucas co-wrote and directed American Graffiti, which grossed more than $ 115 million at the box office in North America. The film won the Golden Globe, the New York Film Critics' and National Society of Film Critics' awards, garnered five Academy Award nominations and Lucas became a millionaire over night.
Four years later, Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars -- a film which broke all box office records, forever changed the way films are made, earned seven Academy Awards and made Lucas the envy of every man, woman and child in Hollywood. Lucas' cut of the box-office pie from this legendary film was estimated to be as high as $ 40 million, not bad for a director's third motion picture. Lucas used this incredible windfall to buy over 2,000 acres of land in Marin County, California where the Lucasfilm empire now resides. Lucas went on to write the stories for The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, which he also executive-produced. In 1980, he was the executive producer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg, which won five Academy Awards. He was also the co- executive producer and creator of the story for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
In the mid-1980s, Lucas concentrated on constructing Skywalker Ranch, a facility custom-designed by Lucas to accommodate the creative, technical, and administrative needs of the Company. Skywalker Ranch includes a 150,000-square-foot post production and music recording facility as well as offices used for the research and development of new technologies in editing, audio, and multimedia. The Ranch, named after the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker, was completed in 1985.
In 1986, Lucas executive-produced Disneyland's 3-D musical space adventure Captain Eo, which was directed by Francis Coppola and starred Michael Jackson. Captain Eo is shown in a theater uniquely designed by Lucas, Industrial Light &Magic, and Disney for the 17-minute spectacular. He was also the creator of Star Tours, combining the technology of a flight simulator with ILM special effects -- making it the most popular attraction at Disneyland.
His next project was the adventure-fantasy film Willow. Based on an original story by Lucas, the film was directed by Ron Howard and executive- produced by Lucas. Willow was released in 1988. Also in 1988, Lucas executive-produced the documentaryTucker: The Man and His Dream, directed by Francis Coppola. The following year, Lucas served as executive producer for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The company established by George Lucas in 1971 has today evolved into three entities. Lucas Digital Ltd. encompasses Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, the award-winning visual effects,television commercial production, and audio post-production businesses. ILM has played a key role in over half of the top 15 box office hits of all time, and was honored in 1994 with an Academy Award for its achievements in Forrest Gump, which marked a technological breakthrough for the film industry. With the digital-animation wizardry achieved by ILM in the film Jurassic Park, Lucas was finally convinced that special-effects technology had caught up with his unbridled and limitless imagination, which he planned to unleash in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
LucasArts Entertainment Company is a leading international developer and publisher of entertainment software, having won critical acclaim with more than 100 industry awards for excellence, consistently charting in top ten lists of best selling software and making more money for Lucas than can possibly be estimated.
Lucasfilm Ltd. includes all of Lucas' feature film and television production and the business activities of Licensing and the THX Group. The THX division was created to define and maintain the highest quality standards in motion picture theaters and home theater systems.
Additionally, George Lucas serves as Chairman of the Board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, a tax-exempt charitable organization devoted to realizing the vision of a technology-enriched educational system of the future.
In 1992, after numerous awards, George Lucas was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Finally, to the delight of millions of adoring fans around the globe, George Lucas is focusing his full attention to the Star Wars saga. He is literally working day and night trying to complete his ultimate masterpiece, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. The production of this new Star Wars film has been so secretive that many a Star Wars fan has lost countless hours of sleep searching the internet for even the smallest nugget of information relating to this history-altering film. Many in Hollywood expect the film to make at least $ 600 million at the box office in North America. The magic of Star Wars returns again May 1999 and the world awaits in breathless anticipation . . . May the Force be with you!