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Darth Vader’s Real Dad Dead – Ralph McQuarrie Gone

from The Washington Post

Ralph McQuarrie, artist who drew Darth Vader, C-3PO, dies at 82

By T. Rees Shapiro

Ralph McQuarrie, an artist whose paintings of a gold-plated robot in an otherworldly desert and an intergalactic sword duel between a scraggly youth and a black-masked villain helped persuade film executives to gamble on a young director named George Lucas and his visionary story, “Star Wars,” died March 3 at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 82.

He had complications from Parkinson’s disease, said John Scoleri, co-author of a book of Mr. McQuarrie’s art.

“Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision ‘Star Wars,’ ” Lucas said in a statement posted online. “When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’ ”

Mr. McQuarrie, for instance, designed the Samurai-inspired helmet and black caped-outfit worn by arch nemesis Darth Vader. (It was Mr. McQuarrie’s idea to put a breathing apparatus on Vader’s mask, so that he could survive in the vacuum of space, which led to the villain’s raspy voice in the films.)

Mr. McQuarrie’s pens, pencils and brushes brought lush color, dramatic scenery and lifelike characters to stunning vibrancy in film classics such as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Cocoon,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “E.T.”

[ click to continue reading at WaPo.com ]

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Editor

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