He never sought the spotlight, but the spotlight was almost thrust upon him.
Gary Kurtz, a quiet but friendly soul who died of cancer this weekend at the age of 78, was best known as the solo producer of Star Wars. If that groundbreaking, culture-changing film had won at the Academy Awards in February 1978 — and it came close to defeating Annie Hall in the ballot — then Kurtz alone would accept the Best Picture Oscar while George Lucas sat and clapped.
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That would not have been inappropriate. Though Kurtz’s role has been somewhat diminished in official Lucasfilm history, it is undeniable that he guided the company’s three most influential and well-received films — American Graffiti, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back — to their stellar success on the screen. Read more…
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