Another vital component of the success of Star Wars has left us as Gloria Katz passes away age 76.
Katz and her husband Willard Huyck were brought on to the original Star Wars by close friend George Lucas, giving the script an uncredited polish that added in many of the more humorous elements. Prior to that, the writing team were Oscar nominated for the screenplay for the smash hit American Graffiti in 1973.
Born in Los Angeles on Oct. 25, 1942, Katz attended UC Berkeley as an English major. She went to UCLA to get her graduate degree in history but left with a masters in film. She married Huyck, who became friends with Lucas at USC, in 1969.
The Hollywood Reporter look at her career, and her time on Star Wars.
Lucas had “a lot of reservations” about his script for his follow-up, Star Wars (1977), as filming was about to begin. “He said, ‘Polish it — write anything you want and then I’ll go over it and see what I need,'” she said. “George didn’t want anyone to know we worked on the script, so we were in a cone of silence.”
Katz noted she and Huyck tried to add as much humor as possible and wrote about 30 percent of the film’s dialogue. They also shaped Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia to be a woman who “can take command; she doesn’t take any shit … instead of just [being] a beautiful woman that schlepped along to be saved,” she said.
Lucasfilm fans will also fondly remember their screenplay for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which added them to a group of creatives who worked on both mega franchises, as well as Howard the Duck and Radioland Murders.