George Walton Lucas Jr., world renowned as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, is considered a significant figure in the New Hollywood era, as he is one among the American film industry's most financially successful filmmakers. Here are 30 surprising facts about the filmmaker:
For the straight second year he was ranked no:4 in the list of Entertainment Weekly’s “101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment”.
He was very much interested in visiting the Animation Department in Warner Bros when he began his apprenticeship. However, the day he joined was the the day the department was closed down.
His Lucasfilm’s Computer Graphics Division was acquired by Steve Jobs that later became Pixar Animation Studio.
While vacationing with friend Steven Spielberg in Hawaii, he came up with the character of Indiana Jones. He ended up producing and Spielberg ended up directing the movies.
He served as Grand Marshal for the Tournament of Roses Parade and made the ceremonial coin toss at the Rose Bowl, New Year's Day 2007.
Initially, most of the major Hollywood studios rejected his script of the most popular movie "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope." Though 20th Century Fox gave a nod to the project, the studio was convinced that it would result in a very big flop. However, the movie turned out to be the highest grossing movie ever released, as of 1977.
He conceived the character of Hans solo for the Star Wars movies, based on his friend Francis Ford Copola.
Among the list of “400 Richest People in America” by Forbes in 2005, only 2 filmmakers appear: Lucas and Spielberg. Lucas was estimated at $3.5 billion.
Luke was his nickname in his school days. He ended up using the name for his hero in Star Wars: Luke Skywalker.
During an interview, he expressed that he likes editing, more than any other stages in filmmaking.
During his time at the USC he became friends with Walter Murch, John Milius and Hal Barwood. The trio were famously known at the campus as “The Dirty Dozen”
He became so tensed that he checked himself into a hospital and was diagnosed with hypertension during the filming of the famous “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” in 1977.
Though known to make good use of technology in his movies in the way of computer graphics, he still uses a loose leaf binder to write instead of a word processor.
He had a near death experience just before his high school graduation. He got severely injured in a car accident and was hospitalized.
As a struggling actor Harrison Ford used to do odd jobs in carpentry for a living. He used to work in Goerge Lucas’s house. Later he became a lead actor in the movies scripted by Lucas.
Lucas created the TV series “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” in 1992 inspired by River Phoenix’s portrayal of young Indy in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” of 1989.
Along with his good friend Spielberg, Lucas is an avid collector of american illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell. They collected 57 of Rockwell’s paintings and displayed them at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
In the 2007 Academy Awards he appeared onstage with friends Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola to present the Best Director Award to another friend Martin Scorsese.
It became unbearable for him to withstand the heat of Tunisia during the movie “ Raiders of the Lost Ark”. His motivation came from knowing that for the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962, David Lean endured the blistering heat for fourteen months at the age of 54.
He has three adopted kids: Amanda Lucas born 1981, Katie Lucas born 1988, Jett Lucas born 1993 and raised them as a single parent after his divorce with Marcia Lou Griffin.
To commemorate Martin Luther King, he donated 1 million US dollars to build the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington D.C. in 2005.
With the help of Tomlinson Halmon he created the THX ltd, a sound equipment production company in 1983. It produces high quality sound equipment for movie theaters, home theaters, computer speakers and many more.
He tried to join the United States Air Force in his early days but was rejected due to his numerous speeding tickets.
He married the film editor Griffin in the year 1969 which lasted for 14 years before their divorce in 1983. She went on to win Academy Award for Editing work on the 1977 movie Star Wars.
He was drafted into the United States Army to serve in the Vietnam, however he was later exempted from service due to diabetes that killed his paternal grandfather.
He made a guest appearance as the person who is about to board the Spider Ride at the Wonder World before Axel Foley cuts-in in the movie “Beverly Hills Cop 3” in 1994.
He married the president of Arial Investments and chairman of Dreamworks Animation Mellody Hobson in 2013 after dating her for more than 6 years. They have a daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas who was born in August 2013.
He donated $180 million to the University of Southern California to expand their Film School. This was the single largest donation the University ever received from anyone let alone from their former student.
Despite of having Lucas and Spielberg behind the script of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, all the studios rejected it until Paramount Pictures agreed, but not without much persuasion.
He won the National Student Film Festival in 1967-68 for his short film “Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB.”