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Roger Kastel Obituary; Poster Artist for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, ‘Jaws’, and More, Has Passed Away.

Roger Kastel, the brilliant mind behind numerous classic movie posters, including Jaws, The Invisible Man, and The Empire Strikes Back, has died at the age of ninety-one. Although Kastel is most known for creating the Jaws movie poster, he was also a prolific illustrator with a career that included book covers, freelance work, and advertising. His work in Hollywood was eventually influenced by his considerable experience working with New York publishing houses.

Roger’s first paperback book cover was released by Pocket Books (Simon Schuster) in the 1960s when he was still a student. Roger believes that he has completed more than a thousand illustrations for different publications overall. Roger’s artwork was awarded first place by the National Fire Underwriters in the 1960s as well. This painting was turned into a very visible fire safety poster that was in use for many years.

Roger Kastel reached his artistic peak in the 1970s, working for all of the major New York publishing houses and earning a reputation as one of the industry’s most renowned illustrators.

If his art was not yet well-known throughout the world, that was about to change when he took on the task of creating the illustration for Bantam Books’ paperback cover of Peter Benchley’s best-selling classic JAWS. Impressed by the artwork, Universal Studios bought the rights to use this picture as the movie’s poster. For the first time, a poster image was turned into a standalone merchandising item. Roger’s illustration is still as instantly recognizable around the globe forty years after it originally appeared.

Now that Roger was well-known in Hollywood, he was contacted to create the movie poster for George Lucas’ eagerly awaited Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back sequel. This movie poster is regarded as one of the most impactful ever made and went on to become an instant classic.