George Lucas – 1944–
Lucas combined a passion for science fiction with a passion for film to create some of the most spectacularly popular American movies in history. His first feature was THX 1138 (1971), a robotic science fiction tale, which instantly commanded a cult following. He stepped into the cultural mainstream in 1973 with American Graffiti, a richly nostalgic look at teenage life in the early 1960s. Despite the commercial success of this film, Lucas’s next movie did not appear until 1977. It was a return to science fiction with Star Wars, a highly imaginative feature that combined advanced special effects with the excitement and innocence of the matinee serials familiar to an earlier age of moviegoers. Star Wars proved a durable franchise, spawning various sequels and entering the pantheon of modern American pop culture.