Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Charley Lippincott (1939-2020)

Charley Lippincott, who will be remembered for his activities as the publicist on the original Star Wars movie whose marketing acumen helped make it a phenomena, was hospitalized on Thursday, 14 May and was placed on a ventilator. He suffered a heart attack two days later and passed away on Tuesday, 19 May. His wife, Bumpy, when announcing his death, wrote “Charley had some kind of Covid-19 premonition that if he went into hospital, he would probably die. At first, it frightened him, but then he became reconciled because he felt he had lived a full and rich life. Charley thought he had been blessed. He lived a good life, a full life, and was luckier than most. Oh, he wanted to keep on living – there were things he still wanted to do – but he realized many of his peers were dying, and if the end came, it would be alright because he had had a full, rich life.”
    Lippincott was responsible for securing deals with various companies, including Kenner (toys), Marvel (comics) and Del Rey (the novelisation), and was a pioneer in promoting films at comic conventions, taking the cast—including Mark Hamill—to San Diego Comic Con and WorldCon in 1976 to talk about the following year’s release of Star Wars.
    Lippincott was also the publicist for Alien (1979) and Flash Gordon (1980), before becoming the producer of zombie horror-comedy Night Life (1989) and Judge Dredd, the 1995 Stallone movie. He had discovered Dredd in the pages of 2000AD while working in London on Alien and bought the film rights, although he had to wait until the mid-1990s to see the film in cinemas.
    His vision of the film can be seen in the The Making of Judge Dredd (1995), co-written with David Chute and Jane Killick.
    Lippincott was a long-time fan of comic books and had earlier produced and co-wrote (with director Ron Mann) Comic Book Confidential (1988), a history of the birth and development of comic book, using interviews with Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, Harvey Kurtzman, Charles Burns, Al Feldstein, Jaime Hernandez, Harvey Pekar, Art Spiegelman and others.
    Born on 28 October 1939, Lippincott attended USC Film School at the same time as George Lucas. He became a publicist, working first at MGM where his films included Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973), Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) and Jonathan Demme’s Fighting Mad (1976). He then joined 20th Century Fox to work on Star Wars with George Lucas. Lippicott became Senior Vice President, Advertising, Publicity, Promotion and Merchandising for Star Wars Corporation.
    Craig Miller, author of Star Wars Memories, posted on Facebook: “Charley was smart. He was funny. And, admittedly, in recent years he could get a little cranky. But he was a great guy. He hasn’t been in the best of health these last few years but I didn’t think he’d be leaving us so soon.” In his book, he says “Charley was responsible for a lot. He made sure every character, every name, every image was properly copyrighted and trademarked. He made the licensing deals (along with Marc Pevers, an attorney who was Vice President of Licensing at 20th Century Fox) for the merchandise that, despite the enormous box office gross, was the real profit center for Lucasfilm … And he masterminded the campaign that truly changed the way movies were publicized.”
    Lippincott left Lucasfilm in around 1978, continuing to work for Fox and for Dino De Laurentiis on Flash Gordon and Conan the Barbarian (1982).
    Lippincott was highly active on Facebook and for a year (2015-16), he recompiled material for his blog ( in which he revealed many aspects of the original Star Wars movie.
    He and his wife, Bumpy, who survives him, lived in Vermont.

No comments:

Post a comment