Irvin Kerschner, 87

Irvin Kershner, the action film director who helmed what is considered the best of the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back, has died in Los Angeles, CA. He was 87.

George Lucas picked Kerschner to oversee the shooting of the first sequel to his blockbuster Star Wars, telling him “you know everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know, but you’re not Hollywood.” The film, which not only expanded the epic-sized story of inter-galactic civil war but featured a deeper look at the the characters involved, has been hailed by critics and fans as the best of the series.

Born in 1923 in Philadelphia, Kerschner started his directorial career in television in the 1960s, directing the pilots to such series as The Rebel, Peyton Place, Philip Marlow and others. Segueing to films, he helmed such films as The Flim-Flam Man starring Sean Connery, S*P*Y*S, The Return Of A Man Called Horse and The Eyes Of Laura Mars.

After Empire, Kershner would only direct two more films – RoboCop 2 and Never Say Never Again, which reteamed the director with Connery for the actor’s last outing as British secret agent James Bond in this film madet outside of the “official” Bond series.

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About Rich Drees 7040 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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Name: Mark
Name: Mark
November 30, 2010 2:29 am

I feel blessed to have actually watched and gotten into the original versions of all three of the original series. I’m actually probably young enough to where I would have only seen the Lucas-fucked versions and gotten into the prequels instead. Luckily, my parents were fans of good cinema and bought the older VHS’s.
And yes, Empire is without a doubt the best.