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Read it at Los Angeles Times
Ralph McQuarrie, the artist whose paintings of a gold-plated robot and a black-masked villain ultimately spawned George Lucas’s epic Star Wars trilogy, has died. McQuarrie, who was the vision behind C-3PO, Darth Vader, R2-D2, Chewbacca, the Stormtroopers, and many other Star Wars characters passed away at age 82 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. “When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this,’” George Lucas wrote in a statement following McQuarrie’s death. It was his idea to put a breathing apparatus on Darth Vader’s mask, giving the villain his infamous raspy voice.