Howard Kazanjian, Film Producer

Howard Kazanjian, Film Producer

"I introduced him [George Lucas] to Francis Coppola and the rest is history.”

Who he is

Howard Kazanjian is a filmmaker who produced three of the greatest films of all time: Star Wars’ “The Empire Strikes Back” (uncredited) and “Return of the Jedi,” and Indiana Jones’ “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” 

After attending film school with George Lucas at the University of Southern California (USC), he entered the world of filmmaking as an assistant director to two giants of cinema, Alfred Hitchcock and Sam Peckinpah. He believes his time with Hitchcock to have been a formative part of his filmmaking career where he learned skills he would use later on other films.

The 1980s were good to Kazanjian: he was not only working with Lucas, but also with another up-and-coming director, Steven Spielberg. “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” made Lucas and Spielberg famous - and Kazanjian had his role in making both a success. In one instance, there was a question of getting Harrison Ford to reprise his role as Han Solo for “Return of the Jedi.” Lucas wasn’t convinced it could be done, but Kazanjian, after speaking with Ford’s agent, was able to secure the deal and Ford’s character was written into the script. 

Besides his success on two of Hollywood’s most successful and revolutionary franchises, Kazanjian also won an Emmy Award in 1982 for producing the “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He has also produced several other films and was the first producer of the popular television series, JAG. 

Interesting fact

Kazanjian and Lucas were members of a cinema fraternity at USC called Delta Kappa Alpha.

Learn more about him

IMDB: Howard Kazanjian