Star Wars designer, McQuarrie dies

March 4, 2012 at 1:04 PM

HOLLYWOOD, March 4 (UPI) -- Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who created the memorable look of the "Star Wars" films, has died at age 82, a statement posted on his official Web site said.

He died Saturday. The cause of death or location of his passing was not released.

McQuarrie's conceptual designs for the first trilogy of director George Lucas' "Star Wars" films introduced iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO to the world.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man," Lucas said in a statement.

"Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy."

McQuarrie also created concept art for the original Battlestar Galactica TV show and for the movies "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and 1985's "Cocoon," for which he won the Academy Award for Visual Effects, CNN reported.

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