Director Irvin Kershner, best known for helming The Empire Strikes Back, died today at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87 years old.
Kershner’s goddaughter Adriana Santini, who resides in France, told French news agency AFP that Kershner died after a long illness. No other details about his death were given.
Born in Philadelphia on April 29, 1923, Kershner also directed the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again and 1990’s RoboCop 2.
It’s well known in the Star Wars fan community that Kershner, an unlikely choice to direct the sequel, was a major part of why The Empire Strikes Back turned out to be such a great film (many would say the best movie of the franchise), and one of the greatest sequels of all time.
In the recently released book The Making Of The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars creator George Lucas talks about his reasoning behind choosing Kershner to direct the film; there’s also behind-the-scenes photos of Kershner with the cast, as well as transcripts of Kershner’s on-set discussions with the cast and crew.
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