A near-fatal auto crash in 1962 derailed his ambitions to be a race-car driver.
Won a Warner Bros. scholarship in 1967 and spent six months as an assistant to Francis Ford Coppola on Finian's Rainbow (1968).
Universal studio brass initially disliked the low-budget film American Graffiti (1973) so much they wanted to bypass a theatrical release and sell it straight to TV. It went on to gross more than $100 million.
Star Wars was turned down by several studios before Fox agreed to finance it for about $10 million; Lucas waived a portion of his directing fee in return for shared ownership of the merchandising and sequel rights for the series.
Net worth, according to Forbes magazine, was estimated at $3 billion in 2010.
Joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's "Giving Pledge," by vowing to give the majority of his wealth to charity.