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Gloria Katz, ‘American Graffiti’ Screenwriter, ‘Star Wars’ Script Doctor, Dies at 76

Gloria Katz, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “American Graffiti” who helped polish the final “Star Wars” script, died on Sunday. She was 76.

She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles following a battle with cancer. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment confirmed Katz’ passing in a tweet on its official account, writing, “Very sad news to report tonight. Gloria Katz, who wrote INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM for us with her husband Willard Huyck, has passed away. Our deepest condolences to Mr. Huyck and loved ones.”

Katz co-wrote 1973’s “American Graffiti” with her husband Willard Huyck and director George Lucas. In addition to an Academy Award nod, “American Graffiti” won the National Society of Film Critics Award and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best screenplay.

Later, Katz and Huyck re-teamed with Lucas to revise his fourth and final draft of 1977’s “Star Wars,” including shaping and strengthening Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia character.

The couple penned the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” along with “Lucky Lady,” “Messiah of Evil,” “French Postcards,” “Best Defense,” “Howard the Duck,” and  “Radioland Murders.” She also served on the board of the Writers Guild of America.

Lea Thompson, who starred in “Howard the Duck,” posted a tribute on Twitter. She wrote, “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.”

Katz was born in Los Angeles attended UC Berkeley and UCLA and married Huyck in 1969. She is survived by her husband and their daughter.

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