Notable Deaths ›

Gloria Katz (1942 - 2018), “American Graffiti” screenwriter

(Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic)

Script doctor for “Star Wars” who gave Princess Leia her strength

Gloria Katz (1942 – 2018) partnered with her husband Willard Huyck to co-write George Lucas’s “American Grafitti” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Her husband was friends with George Lucas at USC and the pair worked with him on multiple films. They were nominated for an Oscar for “American Grafitti,” Lucas’s 1973 film about the cruising scene in California in the early 1960s.

Katz and Huyck were brought in by Lucas as script doctors for his classic 1977 sci-fi film, “Star Wars.” She told the website themarysue.com in 2017 that Lucas had "a lot of reservations" about his script for “Star Wars.” "He said, 'Polish it — write anything you want and then I'll go over it and see what I need.'" "George didn't want anyone to know we worked on the script, so we were in a cone of silence."

She told the website that they wrote about 30 percent of the movie, added humor to the script, and changed Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia character from a woman needing to be rescued into a woman who ‘can take command.”

The pair also wrote screenplays for the movies “Lucky Lady” and Howard the Duck.”

We invite you to share condolences for Gloria Katz in our Guest Book.

Died: Sunday, November 25, 2018 (Who else died on November 25?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 76 on the day of her 49th wedding anniversary.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


Notable Quote: “I think it’s the best of the Star Wars films, because it’s closer to his heart. There’s a lot of humor in it, and also a lot of innocence. It was everything that George liked and thought was wonderful; not everything of a “it’s going to make a billion dollars” kind of sensibility. It’s really his innocence and his love for the genre.” – Katz in an interview with themarysue.com talking about the original “Star Wars” film

What people said about her: “My friend Gloria Katz just passed away. She was the producer writer of #HowardtheDuck she was funny and wry and beautiful. She also worked on #americangraffiti and #StarWars this photo is from one of the long nights of shooting. #Rip Gloria. And thanks.” – Actress Lea Thompson on Twitter

“Had the great privilege of working with her and her husband on a yet to be produced screenplay. A remarkable talent. Kind, generous, witty and supportive. We lost another great one. RIP Gloria” – Dean Devlin, director/producer of the TV series “The Librarians”

Full obituary: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Related lives:

Writers Memorial Site

Carrie Fisher and Leia: A Legacy of Strength

Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012), “When Harry Met Sally” screenwriter

William Goldman (1931 – 2018), “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” screenwriter