R.I.P. Irvin Kershner

Irvin Kershner, famed director of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, has passed away aged 87 in Los Angeles after a long battle with lung cancer.

Though Kershner’s directing career was modest in numbers, by most accounts he was known for his versatility behind the camera. Originally a lecturer at USC it was here that George Lucas looked up to him as a mentor.

Following the success of Star Wars, Lucas passed on directing the sequel, stating:

“I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to direct the second movie myself. I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humour. That was Kersh all over. I didn’t want ‘Empire’ to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures. I was trying to build something, and I knew Kersh was the guy to help me do it.”

It took Kershner three years to make The Empire Strikes Back, a film that is considered by many to be the best in the series. He would never make another film on this scale again, although he has a Bond movie, Never Say Never Again, to his name and another action sequel, Robocop 2.

Kershner understood that the way in which he handled The Empire Strikes Back would affect the success of the overall film franchise. Thankfully he struck gold and his legacy will live on through this much-loved classic.

George Lucas reflects on the loss of his friend and mentor saying:

“The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.”

R.I.P.

3 Responses to “R.I.P. Irvin Kershner”

  1. >First Leslie Nielsen, now Irvin Kershner. Two great people on and behind camera are gone now. 😦

  2. >As they say, stars die in threes.Another to go………(30 Rock Reference)

  3. >Sad. ESB was by far the best Star Wars movie, really iconic. A truly talented man.

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