Willard Huyck
Willard Miller Huyck, Jr.

(1945-09-08) September 8, 1945 (age 78)
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, film director
Years active1969–2013
(m. 1969; died 2018)
AwardsNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay
1973 American Graffiti

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
1973 American Graffiti

Willard Miller Huyck, Jr. (born September 8, 1945) is an American retired screenwriter, director and producer,[1] best known for his association with George Lucas.[2]


Huyck and Lucas met as students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and became members of Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope group of filmmakers. Along with his wife Gloria Katz, Huyck wrote screenplays for films including American Graffiti, Lucky Lady, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Radioland Murders,.[1] They also performed uncredited work on the original Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope.[3][4] In a 2022 interview, Marcia Lucas credits Huyck with an additional major contribution to other Star Wars films. She claims that when George Lucas was having trouble coming up with a dramatic finale to the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, Huyck jokingly suggested that Lucas could make a shocking reveal that Darth Vader was actually Luke's Father.[5] Ryan Britt comments on inverse.com that "...if Willard Huyck did invent the story of Anakin Skywalker, then suddenly he becomes the most pivotal writer in the entire history of Lucasfilm."[6]

Huyck also directed four films, which he co-wrote with Gloria Katz: Messiah of Evil, French Postcards, Best Defense, and Howard the Duck.[2] The latter film received universally negative reviews at its release, but in subsequent years has become a cult classic.[7] Katz and Huyck also wrote and produced the NBC television films "A Father's Homecoming" and "American River." Willard Huyck is a current member of the Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America.

In addition to their work in the film industry, Katz and Huyck are well known as art collectors, having collected Indian miniature paintings beginning in the 1970s. This collection was sold at a Sotheby's auction in New York City in 2001. In subsequent years, they amassed a collection of Japanese photography that spanned from the late 1850s to the present. This collection was acquired in 2018 by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art.[8] The couple also wrote a photographic catalogue of the collection entitled "Views of Japan," designed and edited by Manfred Heiting and published by Steidl. Huyck is a member of the J. Paul Getty Museum Photography Council.

Personal life

Huyck married Katz in 1969.[9] They remained married until her death in 2018. They have one daughter, Rebecca, born in 1983.



Year Title Director Writer Notes
1968 The Devil's 8 No Yes
1973 American Graffiti No Yes
1974 Messiah of Evil Yes Yes Also uncredited producer and actor
Role: Zombie in a car
1975 Lucky Lady No Yes
1979 French Postcards Yes Yes
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom No Yes
Best Defense Yes Yes
1986 Howard the Duck Yes Yes
1994 Radioland Murders No Yes

Other credits

Year Title Role Notes
1977 Star Wars Script doctor Uncredited
1979 More American Graffiti Based on the characters created by
2009 Remembering Messiah of Evil Special thanks Video documentary short
2013 A Fuller Life Thanks Documentary film


Year Title Writer Executive producer Notes
1988 A Father's Homecoming Yes Yes
1989 Mothers, Daughters and Lovers Yes Yes
2008 Secrets of a Hollywood Nurse Yes No Also actor
Role: Electronic Larynx Man


  1. ^ a b "Willard Huyck". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2014. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014.
  2. ^ a b James, Caryn (August 1, 1986). "Howard the Duck (1986) SCREEN: FROM GEORGE LUCAS, 'HOWARD THE DUCK'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Laurent Bouzereau. Star Wars - The Annotated Screenplays.
  4. ^ "Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Starkiller (Revised Fourth Draft)".
  5. ^ "ICONS UNEARTHED: STAR WARS / S1 EP3". vice.com.
  6. ^ "Star Wars doc reveals the shocking origins of that iconic Darth Vader twist". Inverse. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  7. ^ Parker, Ryan (July 26, 2021). "'Howard the Duck' Turns 35: Stars Revisit Notorious Bomb Amid New Fervor for Marvel Character". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  8. ^ Institution, Smithsonian. "Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection of Japanese Photographs Acquired by Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  9. ^ "Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck's Best Defense Against Critics Is Their Screenwriting Track Record" By Donald G. McNeil Jr. August 20, 1984 People Magazine Archived January 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine accessed 22 April 2015