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George Jenson, Production Illustrator on ‘Return of the Jedi,’ Dies at 87

Academy Award-nominated art director and production illustrator George Jenson died of melanoma cancer in Henderson, Nev., on May 25. He was 87.

He was the production illustrator on 1983’s “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.” Jenson received his Oscar nomination for visual effects on “2010” in 1984.

Jenson began his career in the film industry in 1964 as a production illustrator/storyboard artist at 20th Century Fox Studios, working for producer Irwin Allen’s series “Lost in Space,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Time Tunnel,” and “Land of the Giants.” He moved to Filmation Associates as a layout artist and illustrator on the animated TV series “Star Trek,” “Mission: Magic,” “Lassie’s Rescue Rangers,” and “My Favorite Martian” during 1972-75.

Jenson worked as a production illustrator on live-action feature films including Disney’s “Escape to Witch Mountain” and MGM’s “Logan’s Run.” He joined Steven Spielberg’s Amblin for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and worked on “Christine,” “Romancing the Stone,” and “Red Dawn.”

He was a production illustrator on “Dune,” “Poltergeist II,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Terminator 2,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Doctor Doolittle 2,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” He was visual effects art director on “Big Trouble in Little China,” “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Leonard Part 6,” and “Vibes,” art director on “Everybody’s All-American,” and production designer on “Solar Crisis.”

Born in Calgary, Canada, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was six. He was the younger brother of stuntman/character actor Roy Jenson. After serving overseas in Germany for the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Jenson attended the Art Students League in New York City on the G.I. Bill.

Jenson also played the piano and wrote fiction. He retired in 2003 and is survived by his wife, Susie, and three children, Karen, Eric and Brian Jenson, from previous marriages.

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