As a producer, Gary Kurtz laid claim to helping shape one of the most influential properties in the history of motion pictures. Kurtz's early work included various duties for producers like Roger Corman and such directors as Monte Hellman on B-movies like "Ride in the Whirlwind" (1965) and "Two Lane Blacktop" (1971). Through fellow Corman disciple Francis Ford Coppola, he met young filmmaker George Lucas, who later hired him to produce his classic ode to 1960s teen car culture, "American Graffiti" (1973). The duo worked so well together that their collaborative efforts continued on Lucas' epic science-fiction masterpiece, "Star Wars" (1977) and its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). Differences in creative vision, however, soon put an end to the partnership, and Kurtz left Lucas to produce such artistically impressive - albeit commercially disastrous - features as "The Dark Crystal" (1982) and "Return to Oz" (1985). Over the years that followed, Kurtz worked less frequently, producing the little-seen sci-fi thriller "Slipstream" (1989) and seen on camera as an interviewee for a documentary about his former partner's dubious legacy amongst his own fans, "The People vs. George Lucas" (2010). Although his later career yielded little of lasting note, Kurtz would remain a key figure in what was widely considered the apex of the "Star Wars" saga by followers endlessly fascinated by the franchise's convoluted history.