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Lucas & Scorsese pay tribute to producer Wigan

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Feb 14, 2010 | 4:30am EST

Wigan was credited with steering the success of the first Star Wars in 1977, after serving as a production executive on the sci-fi movie.

He subsequently worked on other films including All That Jazz in 1979 and Alien in the same year, before he was appointed co-vice chairman of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group in the 1990s.

And his death in Los Angeles after a brief illness has shocked Star Wars creator Lucas, who will "always be grateful" for Wigan's support.

Lucas says, “Gareth Wigan was one of the most kind and thoughtful executives I’ve ever worked with. He was a real supporter of creative talent. I’ll never forget the first time he saw Star Wars. It was just Gareth and Alan Ladd Jr. seeing an early cut of the film. Gareth was so moved that he cried. As a young filmmaker facing a lot of skeptics, his genuine love of the film meant the world to me. He was there for me when I needed him and I’ll always be grateful.”

And Scorsese, who worked with Wigan on 1993 movie The Age Of Innocence, also has fond memories of the producer.

He adds, “I’ve often wished we could have worked on another production as I’ve always had great admiration for Gareth’s intelligence, diplomacy and taste.”

Wigan is survived by his wife, Pat Newcomb, four children and seven grandchildren.

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