George Jenson, the production illustrator on Return of the Jedi and many more of our favorite genre titles, has died at the age of 87.
According to Variety, Jenson died May 25 of melanoma cancer in Henderson, Nevada. Jenson worked in the film industry for over four decades before retiring in 2003. Most notably, he was the production illustrator for the third film in the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, and in 1984 he received an Oscar nomination for visual effects for his work on 2010.
Jenson began his career in 1964 working as a storyboard artist on Lost in Space and went on to work as an illustrator on such projects as Land of the Giants before serving as layout artist on Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Jenson then moved to live action and was the production illustrator -- working with the art and visual effects departments to help visually express various aspects of production ahead of filming -- on iconic genre films such as Escape to Witch Mountain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dune, Masters of the Universe, and Terminator 2. He was also visual effects art director on Big Trouble in Little China.
Jenson grew up in Los Angeles after his family moved from Canada when he was just 6 years old. He served in the U.S. Army before attending the Art Students League in New York City. Jenson's older brother, Roy Jenson, also worked in the film industry as a stuntman and actor. George Jenson is survived by his wife and three children.