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‘American Graffiti’ screenwriter, Gloria Katz, dies at 76

LOS ANGELES — A Hollywood director has announced the death of his wife, Gloria Katz, who co-wrote “American Graffiti” and helped give Princess Leia her power in “Star Wars.” She was 76.

Willard Huyck told the Hollywood Reporter that Katz died on Sunday, their 49th wedding anniversary, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after battling ovarian cancer.

The couple shared an Oscar nomination with director George Lucas for “American Graffiti” and secretly doctored his script for “Star Wars.” The paper quoted Katz as saying they shaped Carrie Fisher’s Leia into a woman who “can take command,” not “just a beautiful woman that schlepped along to be saved.”

They later penned Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” and co-wrote “Lucky Lady,” ”Messiah of Evil,” ”French Postcards,” ”Best Defense,” ”Howard the Duck,” and “Radioland Murders.”

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