Howard G. Kazanjian
- Assistant Director
Howard G. Kazanjian (born 1942) is an American film producer known for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kazanjian is also a former 8-year Vice President of Lucasfilm, Ltd., and a published non-fiction author.
Kazanjian graduated from the University of Southern California. While there he first met a young George Lucas, and they became not only Delta Kappa Alpha cinema fraternity brothers but also long standing friends. They were members of a clique of filmmakers known to the Hollywood system and the university circuit as The Dirty Dozen. During those college years, Kazanjian and Lucas both met their respective future wives, and the couples would often double date.
Kazanjian's early credits include being First Assistant Director on Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot and Second Assistant Director on Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch. He later worked with director Robert Wise on his production of The Hindenburg.
Kazanjian moved into film production rather than directorial work at Hitchcock's suggestion and is most notable for having served as executive producer on Raiders of the Lost Ark and producer on Return of the Jedi, two of the biggest films of all time. For Jedi he came up with the idea of shooting the production under a fake name, Blue Harvest, in order to forestall any attempts at price gouging by suppliers. Blue Harvest was purported to be a horror film with the tag line "horror beyond imagination". Hats and T-shirts were printed up for the crew to wear and to further add to the authenticity of the ruse.
Kazanjian is also recognized as an uncredited producer on The Empire Strikes Back, replacing producer Gary Kurtz midway through the production.
As Lucasfilm's Vice President of Production, Howard Kazanjian was intimately involved in the day-to-day strategic and practical operations of Lucasfilm during the times immediately after the 1977 release of Star Wars until approximately 1984 or 1985.
Awards: Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 win
Known For: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) | Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) | Demolition Man (1993) | Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)