The man behind much of the look and style of the original Star Wars trilogy has passed away at the age of 82. Ralph McQuarrie, who also did design work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and several other classic films, died Saturday.
McQuarrie is arguably best known for his work on the original Star Wars films, where he designed everything from Darth Vader to several iconic settings used in the movies.
Though his legacy will live on in some of the greatest films ever made, McQuarrie remained humble, and told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1999 that he was just honored to be working with George Lucas when Star Wars was coming together.
"I just did my best to depict what I thought the film should look like, I really liked the idea. I didn't think the film would ever get made," he said. "My impression was it was too expensive. There wouldn't be enough of an audience. It's just too complicated. But George knew a lot of things that I didn't know."
The passing was announced at McQuarrie's official website with a short, touching tribute:
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.
Ralph was a very special person for many more reasons than his undeniable brilliance with a brush. He was an especially kind, sensitive, deep, modest, funny and fascinating gentleman. And as fine a role model as any one could have wished for.
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."
Ralph, you will be missed. Thanks so much for all the great works you've left behind.
(via The Art of Ralph McQuarrie).