director, writer, producer
Birthplace: Modesto, California
Film director, writer, and producer who has built an empire on the Star Wars franchise. Nearly every contemporary effects-driven film and high-concept filmmaker owes a great debt to Lucas, whose research and development of new film technology resulted from Star Wars. Though he is best known for Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucas's other films, equally lauded, include American Graffiti (1973), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Willow (1988) and Radioland Murders (1994), and exhibit his fascination with myth and archetypal, dazzlingly cinematic hero stories. Episode I ? The Phantom Menace, the first in a three-part Star Wars prequel hit theaters in 1999.