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Howard Kazanjian

Howard Kazanjian
Born Howard G. Kazanjian
1942 (age 73–74)
Occupation Film producer, author
Years active 1968–present

Howard G. Kazanjian (born 1942) is an American film producer known for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kazanjian is also a former 8-year Vice President of Lucasfilm, Ltd., and a published non-fiction author.


  • Lucasfilm 1
  • Early years 2
  • Raiders and Star Wars 3
  • Blue Harvest and Return of the Jedi 4
  • Later years 5
  • Filmography 6
  • Awards 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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.

Early years

Kazanjian graduated from the 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.

Raiders and Star Wars

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 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, two of the biggest films of all time.

Kazanjian is recognized as an uncredited producer on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, replacing producer Gary Kurtz midway through the production.

Blue Harvest and Return of the Jedi

During production of Return of the Jedi, Kazanjian is credited with the idea to utilize the guise of filming a fictitious movie to disguise the actual production. The fictitious film was titled Blue Harvest, which 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.

Later years

Kazanjian has authored books with Chris Enss. In 2004, they collaborated on The Cowboy and the Senorita: A Biography of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ISBN 0-7627-3053-6 and Happy Trails: A Pictorial Celebration of the Lives of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ISBN 0-7627-3089-7; In 2006, The Young Duke: The Early Life of John Wayne ISBN 0-7627-3898-7; in 2009, Thunder over the Prairie: The True Story of a Murder and a Manhunt by the Greatest Posse of All Time ISBN 0-7627-4493-6.

Kazanjian has been an instructor at "Act One", a group designed to train Christians entering into film and television,[1] and was named by Beliefnet as one of the twelve most powerful Christians in Hollywood.[2]

On June 8, 2009, Howard Kazanjian was deputized as an Honorary Marshal of Dodge City, Kansas.

Of Armenian descent, Kazanjian is an active member of the Armenian charity and cultural community, and a USC alumnus.

Since 1998 Kazanjian has been Co-Chairman and 50% shareholder of Tricor Entertainment, Inc, an independent production company, which owns and operates a 19,000+ seat theater chain in Southeast Asia and a film distribution company.

Kazanjian lives and works in the community of San Marino, California with his wife Carol, and three children, Peter, Noah, and Andrew. Fellow filmmaker BWL Norton, with whom he worked on More American Graffiti, jokingly described Kazanjian as being "like, from Mars" in a 1980 interview.

As of 2014, Kazanjian and George Lucas remain close friends.



  • 1981 Emmy award for The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • 1982 Inkpot Award winner
  • 2009 Briner Impact Award[3]


  1. ^ Act One Archived October 6, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Mel Gibson Named 'Most Powerful Christian' in Hollywood". October 18, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Hollywood Legends Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at Biola Media Conference | Christian Industry News". FrontGate Media. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 

External links

  • Howard G. Kazanjian at the Internet Movie Database
  • In-depth 2009 interview with Kazanjian regarding his contributions to Lucasfilm, LTD
  • May 2010 interview and Q&A with Kazanjian at Paramount Studios screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark
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