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Farewell, Ralph McQuarrie

03.05.2012

He may be gone, but his boundless imagination and talent yet remains - Ralph McQuarrie, concept designer behind EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI (amongst so many other things) passed away yesterday at the age of 82.

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McQuarrie is the ultimate example of someone who you may know without realizing it, as he was the artist who George Lucas turned to when studios could not manage to understand the vision he had for STAR WARS. McQuarrie was able, with vibrant artistry, to not only create that which Lucas was imagining but even improve upon it.  "When words could not convey my ideas," said Lucas, "I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'do it like this.'"  The look of Darth Vader, R2D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Bespin, and so many classic moments from the STAR WARS saga? All McQuarrie.  And it was not just to STAR WARS that McQuarrie applied the entire breadth of his incredible skill - his work can be seen in a wide variety of projects that range from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to ET to JURASSIC PARK to the original television series of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  He even shared an Academy Award win for Best Visual Effects for the movie COCOON.

This was recently posted on McQuarrie's website: “It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Ralph McQuarrie. People say you should never meet your heroes. Ralph was the exception to that rule. We were all fans of his amazing art long before we were blessed with his friendship. But once you got to know Ralph it was impossible not to become a fan of Ralph the man…His influence on design will be felt forever. There’s no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone somewhere will say, ‘that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted.’”

And they'd be right.

You can find McQuarrie's website, along with further information about him and a great deal more of his beautiful art, right here.

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Extra Tidbit: McQuarrie worked on a great many properties Schmoes fervently love - can you pick a favorite out of them all insofar as design goes?

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