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Richard Marquand (22 September 1937 – 4 September 1987) was a Welsh film director,[1] best known for directing 1983's Return of the Jedi. He also directed the critically acclaimed 1981 drama film Eye of the Needle and the 1985 thriller Jagged Edge.

Richard Marquand
Born (1937-09-22)22 September 1937
Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales
Died 4 September 1987(1987-09-04) (aged 49)
Tunbridge Wells, England
Occupation Film director
Children James Marquand
Parent(s) Hilary Marquand (father)
Relatives David Marquand (brother)


Early lifeEdit

Marquand was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales. He is the son of Rachel E. (née Rees) and Hilary Marquand, who was a Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister in the Post Second World War Labour Government.[2] He is the younger brother of David Marquand, who also served as a Labour Party MP.

Richard Marquand was educated at Emanuel School, London, the University of Aix (now Aix-Marseille University) in Aix-en-Provence, France and King's College, Cambridge. During National Service he studied Mandarin and was posted to Hong Kong where he also read the news on the English language Hong Kong Television.


By the late 1960s, Marquand had begun a career writing and directing television documentaries for the BBC, where he worked on projects such as the 1972 series Search for the Nile and an edition of One Pair of Eyes (1968),[3] about the novelist Margaret Drabble who had been a friend of his at Cambridge.[4] He collaborated with the celebrated foreign correspondent, James Cameron, (not to be confused with the director) on a long running series called Cameron Country for BBC television and also with John Pilger on a series of films for ITV. In 1979, Marquand incorporated many of his documentary techniques in his biographical television movie Birth of the Beatles. He directed several films specifically for children including the 1977 Emmy winning Big Henry and the Polka Dot Kid.

On the strength of his direction of the 1981 feature, Eye of the Needle, Marquand was hired by producer George Lucas to direct Return of the Jedi.[5] In his commentary track on the DVD, Lucas explains that Marquand "had done some great suspense films and was really good with actors. Eye of the Needle was the film I'd seen that he had done that impressed me the most, it was really nicely done and had a lot of energy and suspense." Marquand was the only non-American to direct a Star Wars film until 2016, when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was directed by Gareth Edwards.

Marquand subsequently directed the 1985 courtroom thriller Jagged Edge, starring Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close.

In 1987, Marquand died of a stroke eighteen days short of his 50th birthday. His last film, Hearts of Fire, starring Bob Dylan, was released posthumously.[5]

Marquand had four children; Hannah, Sam, Molly, and James, the last of whom is also a film director.


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
1963 This Nation Tomorrow Yes (3 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
The Sky at Night Yes (2 ep.) No No TV Series documentary
1963-64 Adventure Yes (2 ep.) No Yes (2 ep.) TV Series documentary
1964 Home for Heroes? Yes No Yes TV Movie
Birmingham '64 No No Yes TV Movie
The Long Journey No No No Production assistant; TV Movie
The Colony No No No Production assistant; TV Movie
1964-65 Landmarks Yes (2 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series documentary
1965 Inside America Yes (4 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
1966 Inside Ireland Yes (2 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
Women, Women, Women Yes (2 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
1967 Inside Australia Yes (4 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
1967-70 One Pair of Eyes Yes (4 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
1968-70 Cameron Country Yes (8 ep.) No Yes (9 ep.) TV Series
1970 Edward II Yes No No TV Movie
1971 The Search for the Nile Yes (2 ep.) No No TV Mini-Series
1971-73 Omnibus Yes (2 ep.) No Yes (1 ep.) TV Series documentary
1975 The Puritan Experience: Making of a New World Yes Yes Yes Short
The Puritan Experience: Forsaking England Yes No Yes Short
Do Yourself Some Good Yes No No Documentary short
1975-76 Pilger Yes (5 ep.) No Yes (1 ep.) TV Series documentary
1976 NBC Special Treat Yes (2 ep.) Yes (1 ep.) No TV Series
1978 The Legacy Yes No No Theatrical film
1979 Birth of the Beatles Yes No No Theatrical film
1981 Eye of the Needle Yes No No Theatrical film
1983 Return of the Jedi Yes No No In roles Maj. Marquand / EV-9D9 (voice); Theatrical film
1984 Until September Yes No No Theatrical film
1985 Jagged Edge Yes No No Theatrical film
1987 Hearts of Fire Yes No Yes Theatrical film
1993 Nowhere to Run No Yes No Story; Theatrical film


  1. ^ "Welsh film facts". BBC. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Richard Marquand Biography (1937–)
  3. ^ One Pair of Eyes: Margaret Drabble, BBC2, 9 March 1968, BBC Archive site
  4. ^ Margaret Drabble "Once upon a life: Margaret Drabble", The Guardian, 5 December 2010
  5. ^ a b Richard Marquand > Biography – AllMovie. Retrieved 25 September 2010.

External linksEdit