For fans of the “Star Wars” franchise, there was a sad disturbance in the Force.
Gary Kurtz, one of the most influential producers in movie history, died Sunday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 78.
As a producer on A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Kurtz helped shepherd the space opera into the world.
Francis Ford Coppola first introduced Kurtz to George Lucas, a relationship that would be incredibly fruitful for both men. In addition to the first Star Wars movies, Kurtz produced American Graffiti alongside Lucas.
Peter Mayhew, the actor behind Chewbacca, memorialized Kurtz on Twitter. “Without him there would have been no ‘force.’ You will be remembered in the incredible films you made that touched the lives of millions,” Mayhew tweeted.
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. #ESB #starwars #americangraffiti @starwars pic.twitter.com/0D9RyP3DJH
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) September 24, 2018
The Kurtz/Joiner Archive published a statement announcing Kurtz’s passing, noting that, “some have said that he is one of the gentlest souls in the film profession, modest and humble, and a very unique man.”
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