Richard Marquand

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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)

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.

Early life[edit]

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 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 Producer Writer Other
1963 This Nation Tomorrow Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 3 episodes
The Sky at Night Yes No No No TV Series documentary, 2 episodes
1963-64 Adventure Yes Yes No No TV Series documentary, 2 episodes
1964 Home for Heroes? Yes Yes No No TV Movie
Birmingham '64 No Yes No No TV Movie
The Long Journey No No No Yes TV Movie; production assistant
The Colony No No No Yes TV Movie; production assistant
1964-65 Landmarks Yes No No No TV Mini-Series documentary, 2 episodes
1965 Inside America Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 4 episodes
1966 Inside Ireland Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 2 episodes
Women, Women, Women Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 2 episodes
1967 Inside Australia Yes No No Yes TV Mini-Series, 4 episodes + 1 episode only narrator
1967-70 One Pair of Eyes Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 4 episodes
1968-70 Cameron Country Yes Yes No No TV Series, 8 episodes + 1 episode only produced
1970 Edward II Yes No No No TV Movie
1971 The Search for the Nile Yes No No No TV Mini-Series, 2 episodes
1971-73 Omnibus Yes Yes No No TV Series documentary, 2 episodes, produced only 1 episode
1973 The Iron Village Yes No No No Documentary short
Between the Anvil and the Hammer Yes No No No Documentary short
1975 The Puritan Experience: Making of a New World Yes Yes Yes No Short
The Puritan Experience: Forsaking England Yes Yes No No Short
Do Yourself Some Good Yes No No No Documentary short
1975-76 Pilger Yes Yes No No TV Series documentary; 5 episodes, produced only 1 episode
1976 NBC Special Treat Yes No Yes No TV Series; 2 episodes, wrote only 1 episode
1978 The Legacy Yes No No No Theatrical film
1979 Birth of the Beatles Yes No No No Theatrical film
1981 Eye of the Needle Yes No No No Theatrical film
1983 Return of the Jedi Yes No No Yes Theatrical film; in roles Maj. Marquand / EV-9D9 (voice)
1984 Until September Yes No No No Theatrical film
1985 Jagged Edge Yes No No No Theatrical film
1987 Hearts of Fire Yes Yes No No Theatrical film; posthumous release
1993 Nowhere to Run No No Yes No Theatrical film; posthumous release, only story

Appearance in documentaries[edit]

Year Title Notes
1970 E.M. Forster 1879-1970 TV Movie documentary
1983 Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi TV Movie documentary
From 'Star Wars' to 'Jedi': The Making of a Saga TV Movie documentary
1987 Omnibus TV Series documentary, 1 episode


  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 links[edit]