George Walton Lucas, Jr. was born on 14 May 1944 in Modesto, California. George Lucas attended the University of Southern California, one of the first in the country to have a department for cinematic arts. Lucas's roommate in college was Randal Kleiser, who went on to direct movies like Grease and The Blue Lagoon. Together, they produced a series of shorts for their college program, including an early version of THX 1138, which was George Lucas' first feature-length film.
Along his career, George Lucas became friends with several big names in the film industry, such as Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, acting as producer and special-effects coordinator in such films as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Labyrinth (1986), and The Land Before Time (1988).
George Lucas, however, is best known as the director and writer of Star Wars. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope debuted in 1977 with rather low expectations. So low, in fact, that the studios agreed to give George Lucas ownership of the licensing rights for all Star Wars movies. This turned out to be an incredible move for Lucas. According to Forbes magazine, George Lucas's fortune is estimated to be around $3.5 billion US Dollars (USD), much of which is a result of the success of Star Wars.
Over the last few years, George Lucas has stepped back from his typical role as a film director and now focuses on producing movies, which gives him control over the technical details. George Lucas is the creator of Lucasfilm, which has developed high-tech special effects for many films, including Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park. The highly successful Pixar Animation Studios is also the brainchild of George Lucas.
George Lucas was married to fellow USC student Marcia Lou Griffin for 14 years. A successful film editor in her own right, she won an Oscar for her work in Star Wars. Griffin has three adopted daughters, two of whom were adopted after her divorce in 1993.
George Lucas has been nominated for four Academy Awards (1974 and 1978) and won an Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1991 and a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2005.