Gary Kurtz passes away

Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz passed away on Sunday. He was a producer of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Kurtz was 78. His other works include American Graffiti, Return to OZ and The Dark Crystal.


Kurtz died after a year long battle with cancer. His family released this statement via Fantha Tracks:

“With deep love and respect, the family of Gary Kurtz is sad to share that he has passed away. He died from cancer on September 23rd in North London, England.

Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and mentor, whose work and talent spanned filmmaking, photography, music, and cinema history. He was a Marine, a world traveller, an outdoorsman, and a kind, compassionate human being.

His life’s work was to share the wonder of audio-visual storytelling through the art of film. Well-known for his work as the producer of American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Crystal, Gary was passionate about telling stories that shared the humanity of characters in entertaining ways for audiences around the world.

Gary was a magnificent man, who will be hugely missed. His whole family thanks you for your loving thoughts.”

Shared memories


Many people in the Star Wars family shared their memories of Kurtz today via Twitter:

Star Wars (@starwars) – Lucasfilm remembers Gary Kurtz, producer of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. 

Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) – “RIP Gary Kurtz. A great filmmaker and man has just passed. Without him there would have been no “force”. You will be remembered in the incredible films you made that touched the lives of millions.”

Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) –“ Sad news today. Gary Kurtz, producer of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Dark Crystal and more has passed away. He told the most amazing stories and had a huge passion for film making. Was an honour to know him. You will be missed. RIP”

Gary Kurtz served as a Marine during the Vietnam war. He was also was a student of religion in his early years. Kurtz used these experiences to help influence his film making. He is also credited in his help developing the idea of The Force with George Lucas. Because of Kurtz and Lucas, we are able to enjoy one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, Star Wars.