Irvin Kershner – director of The Empire Strike Back (which is widely believed to be the best of Star Wars movies), died in Los Angeles. The news came in yesterday, however he was suffering from a long sickness reported AFP citing his goddaughter.
Kershner was born in Philadelphia in 1923, and studied music and photography before starting a filmmaking career in the 50s making documentaries abroad for the United States Information Agency. He also worked extensively in television, and made successful films in the 60s and 70s. The films he’s best known for, however, he shot between 1978 and 1983: “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and the ‘unauthorized’ Bond flick “Never Say Never Again,” starring Sean Connery. His last feature film was “Robocop 2.”
“Star Wars” creator George Lucas issued a statement in memory of Kershner that was posted on StarWars.com:
“The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” says Lucas. “Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When I think of Kersh, I think of his warmth, his thoughtfulness and his talent. I knew him from USC — I attended his lectures and he was actually on the festival panel that gave the prize to my THX short. I considered him a mentor. Following Star Wars, 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 humor. 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 will help me do it. He brought so much to the table. I am truly grateful to him. He was a friend as well as a colleague. He will be missed.”