|Occupation||Film producer, 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 Hindenberg.
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.
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.
Blue Harvest and Revenge 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, and throw off any press and nosy fans. 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.
At the same time, Kazanjian also created the fictitious "Revenge of the Jedi" campaign, specifically to thwart black market merchandisers who would often pre-empt official merchandising with knock-off items. Many of the items bearing the name "Revenge of the Jedi" (as opposed to "Return of the Jedi") have become rare and valuable collectors items.
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, and was named by Beliefnet as one of the twelve most powerful Christians in Hollywood.
On June 8, 2009, Howard Kazanjian was deputized as an Honorary Marshal of Dodge City, Kansas.
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 2009, Kazanjian and George Lucas remain close friends.
- Finian's Rainbow (1968) (assistant director)
- I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968) (2nd 2nd assistant director)
- The Wild Bunch (1969) (second assistant director)
- The Great Bank Robbery (1969) (second assistant director)
- The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970) (assistant director)
- Trapped (1973) (TV) (assistant director)
- The Rockford Files (1974) (TV) (assistant director)
- The Girl from Petrovka (1974) (first assistant director)
- The Front Page (1974) (first assistant director)
- The Hindenburg (1975) (first assistant director)
- Family Plot (1976) (first assistant director)
- Rollercoaster (1977) (production executive)
- More American Graffiti (1979) (producer)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (executive producer)
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) (producer)
- From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga (1985) (executive producer)
- The Rookie (1990) (producer)
- Demolition Man (1993) (producer)
- Rattled (1996) (TV movie) (executive producer)
- Carlo's Wake (1999) (executive producer)
- The Sky Is Falling (2000) (executive producer)
- The Amati Girls (2001) (executive producer)
- Extreme Days (2001) (executive producer)
- Worlds Apart (2004) (supervising producer)
- The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004) (executive producer)
- The Homecoming of Jimmy Whitecloud (2001) (executive producer)
- Danger Rangers (2003–2008) (executive producer)
- Act One[dead link]
- "Mel Gibson Named 'Most Powerful Christian' in Hollywood". In.christiantoday.com. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- "Hollywood Legends Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at Biola Media Conference | Christian Industry News". FrontGate Media. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- 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