Gary Kurtz, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ producer, dies at 78

Gary Kurtz, a producer on “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” has died. He was 78.

According to a statement by The Kurtz/Joiner Archive, the producer died from cancer on Sunday in North London, England.

“Gary Kurtz, Star Wars producer passed away on Sunday the 23rd of September at 4.47pm after living with Cancer for the last year,” read the statement. “We have him to thank for these wonderful memories that he made for us all. Gary Kurtz helped to create the force and it is with us always. Gary Kurtz left behind Clare Gabriel, Tiffany Kurtz, Melissa Kurtz, and Dylan Kurtz. Our thoughts are with his family.”

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Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in various “Star Wars” films, tweeted Monday: “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.”

In addition to his work on the “Star Wars” films, which also included “A New Hope,” Kurtz also produced “American Graffiti,” “The Dark Crystal,” “Return to Oz” and “The Steal.” Most recently, he served as executive producer on 2016’s “Gangster Kittens.” Before his death, Kurtz had various projects in development, including “The Chimeran” and “Offbeat.”

More to come…

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