Starr formed EPRI in 1972 as a research and development organization to address the challenges faced by the electric utility industry. He published more than 400 technical and scientific articles, and received numerous honors, including the National Medal of Technology (1990), awarded by then-President George H.W. Bush for contributions to engineering and the electric industry, and the U.S. Energy Award (1990) from the U.S. Energy Association for long-term contributions to energy and to international understanding.
Prior to establishing EPRI, Starr was dean of the UCLA School of Engineering and Applied Science. While at UCLA, he directed a research effort on societal safety in technical systems. Before joining UCLA, he had a 20-year industrial career, during which he served as vice president of Rockwell International and founded and became president of its Atomics International Division.
Starr is survived by his wife of 69 years, Doris; a daughter, Ariel Wooley of Los Altos, Calif.; a son, Ross Starr of San Diego, Calif.; and five grandchildren.