Director Irvin Kershner has died at age 87.
Director Irvin Kershner has died at age 87, following a lengthy illness. Kershner is best known for his direction of 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, and rightly so, but that was by no means his sole contribution to the world of cinema.
Kershner was a World War II veteran who began his cinematic career by teaching film at the University of Southern California. From there he segued into television director and stills photographer before settling into film. His early films include A Fine Madness (starring Sean Connery), The Return Of A Man Called Horse (starring Richard Harris), and, in 1978, Eyes of Laura Mars, a film that made George Lucas sit up and take notice. Lucas called upon Kershner to direct the second film in his original Star Wars trilogy. Empire's obituary raves "Kershner's no-frills storytelling style, coupled with a strong script and an imaginative visual pallet, gave Empire a gravitas that marked it out as an instant classic."
Likely finding Empire a tough act to top, Kershner only directed two more films. He oversaw Sean Connery's last appearance as James Bond in Never Say Never Again and helmed another sequel in RoboCop 2. He'll always be best remembered for The Empire Strikes Back, though, and the indelible mark it left on film and culture at large.