One of the very first posts I wrote on this blog, back in June 2010, was in celebration of his birthday, so it is very sad to learn that less than 2 years later he has passed away.
McQuarrie was an amazingly gifted and visionary artist, famous for his work with both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for whom he illustrated a bewildering number and variety of ideas for such classics as the first three Star Wars films, Close Encounters and ET. His role was to bring the ideas of the directors and writers to life, which he did in such a convincing way, that much of what people remember of these films, came directly from his head..
I was lucky enough at the end of last year to find an original hard back copy of his 1980′s book “The Illustrated Star Wars Universe” in a local charity shop. Without doubt the best £1.50 I’ve spent in a long time. The link takes you to Parka Blogs’s review of the book, which includes a video of him flicking through the pages… As an aside, I’ve come across this book review site a number of times before. It’s definitely worth a visit, Parka Blogs writes well and spends a huge amount of time and money on books.; The word obsessive doesn’t do him (and it almost certainly is a him) justice..)
All in all then, a sad day for Star Wars fans.. but a pretty good excuse to put even more of his wonderful work up on my site.
As today is his birthday, its’ a good time to talk about the unbelievably gifted Ralph McQuarrie, the man who imagined some of the greatest films of all time.
McQuarrie initially worked as a technical illustrator for Boeing Aircraft during the 1960′s whilst in his spare time designing film posters. After setting up his own company he produced animated sequences of the Apollo space program for the CBS News network. Several forays into film illustration later, and his work was finally noticed in the mid 1970′s by a young George Lucas who was working up ideas for what was to become Star Wars.
The effortless sweep and timeless grandeur of his paintings was instrumental not only in defining the films style, but also in convincing 20th Century Fox to fund the film.
McQuarrie went on to work on all three of the original Star Wars Films as well as providing concept illustrations for Close Encounters, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Star Trek film and the original Battlestar Galactica.
So Happy Birthday and a huge thanks to the man who brought my childhood dreams to life.