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Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Designer, RIP

From Empire:

The world of science fiction and fantasy 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 before it was even known by that name and, in 1975, was commissioned to provide the now iconic designs for the likes of Chewbacca and Darth Vader, plus many concepts for the sets and ships. His art actually helped convince 20th Century Fox to take a gamble on Lucas’ dreams, making him a key component in one of the most beloved franchises of all time.

I remember as a kid having a portfolio set from The Empire Strikes Back of early designs from the movie that McQuarrie designed and/or painted. I loved that portfolio and years later purchased several books on the art of Star Wars just for McQuarrie’s paintings.

Along with Star Wars, McQuarrie also did designs for the original Battlestar Galactica, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET and a host of others. He was truly one of the greats.