George Lucas

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George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an American film producer, screenwriter, director and founder/chairman of Lucasfilm Ltd. He is best known for being the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones. Today, Lucas is one of the American film industry's most financially successful independent directors/producers, with an estimated net worth of $3 billion as of 2010.[1]

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Early life and education

Lucas was born in Modesto, California, the son of Dorothy Lucas (née Bomberger) and George Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991), who owned a stationery store.[2]

Lucas grew up in the Central Valley town of Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his USC student film 1:42:08, as well as his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti. Long before Lucas became obsessed with film making, he wanted to be a race-car driver, and he spent most of his high school years racing on the underground circuit at fairgrounds and hanging out at garages. However, a near-fatal accident in his souped-up Autobianchi Bianchina on June 12, 1962, just days before his high school graduation, quickly changed his mind. Instead of racing, he attended Modesto Junior College and later got accepted into a junior college to study anthropology. While taking liberal arts courses, he developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks. George Lucas graduated from Brookdale Community College in New Jersey.

As a child, Lucas never learned to swim, which became a source of embarrassment and frustration as he became older. Lucas has expressed in several interviews that his inability to swim was "the passion that drove me to succeed in filmmaking... (It) gave me the chip on my shoulder that I think was critical to my later success" [3]

During this time, an experimental filmmaker named Bruce Baillie tacked up a bedsheet in his backyard in 1960 to screen the work of underground, avant-garde 16 mm filmmakers like Jordan Belson, Stan Brakhage and Bruce Conner. For the next few years, Baillie's series, dubbed Canyon Cinema, toured local coffeehouses. These events became a magnet for the teenage Lucas and his boyhood friend John Plummer. The 19-year-olds began slipping away to San Francisco to hang out in jazz clubs and find news of Canyon Cinema screenings in flyers at the City Lights bookstore. Already a promising photographer, Lucas became infatuated with these abstract films.

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