Feel the Force
George Lucas or, to give his full name, George Walton Lucas, Jr.
What does he do?
Even if you don't recognise his name, you will certainly know his work. He is a massively succesful film director, producer and screen writer.
He broke all box office records with the release of Star Wars in 1977, which he wrote and directed. The success continued with the release of the next two films in the trilogy, and more recently with the release of the Star Wars prequels.
He was also responsible for creating the archeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, in a series of films beginning with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Born 14 May 1944 in California, USA, Lucas spent his childhood absorbed in comic books, when his father was not busy trying to teach him values of hard work and dedication. He expected George to mow the lawn for his allowance, but his solution was to save up until he had enough money to buy a sit-on lawnmower!
As a teenager, he spent most of his time daydreaming. He was more interested in race driving and this became his main passion.
Three days before he was due to graduate from high school, he was involved in a bad car accident. Suffering from crushed lungs, it was during months of recovery in hospital that he thought up the idea of 'the Force'.
The accident had a major effect on his life, ending his dream of becoming a professional race car driver – and it was then that he began to pursue a career making films.
How did he find out he had diabetes?
Just after he graduated from university he was drafted for the Vietnam War. During his physical, the doctors discovered that he had Type 2 diabetes.
His films have created major breakthroughs in film making. He revolutionised movie theatres with the THX sound system, which was created to "maintain the highest quality in motion-picture viewing".
He created a company just to edit and mix Star Wars, a company which later became known as Skywalker Sound. Between 1980 and 1985 he built Skywalker Ranch, which was made to accommodate the creative, technical and administrative needs of Lucasfilm.
Lost the plot?
The first Star Wars film, released in 1977, was actually the fourth episode (official title: Star Wars Episode Four: A New Hope) and it was followed by The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and The Return of the Jedi in 1983. Then came a 16-year gap before the Jedi knights returned in Episode One: The Phantom Menace in 1999, which was followed by the next two prequels (Episode Two: Attack of the Clones and Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith). Confused?
Coming soon to a cinema near you
The first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, was released in 1981 and was followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984 and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989.
There were going to be several more ‘Indy’ films but George struggled to come up with a good enough plot.
Finally, after more than 15 years of false production starts, a series of different scripts, writers and release dates, the fourth ‘Indy’ film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released worldwide in May 2008.
The fourth film in the series also stars Shia LaBeouf (recently seen in Transformers). All four Indiana Jones films have been produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg - Lucas and Spielberg are old friends.
"I love his movies I never would of guessed he was diabetes."