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Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner dies at 87

Nov. 29, 2010by:

Irvin Kershner, director of possibly the greatest science-fiction film of all-time in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, died in Los Angeles last night at the age of 87. Kershner, who would only direct two films after EMPIRE, had long been suffering from an undisclosed illness.

Though he only had a few minor film credits to his resume (including THE RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE and S*P*Y*S) Lucas chose Kershner to direct EMPIRE because he knew everything about directing without being "too Hollywood." Though Kershner originally turned the gig down, he was eventually convinced and movie history was made.

After EMPIRE, he went on to direct NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, Sean Connery's not-so-triumphant return to the James Bond franchise and ROBOCOP 2, a sci-fi sequel that is probably the exact opposite of EMPIRE in terms of quality.

But Kershner's heart was never in directing Hollywood movies and he eventually returned to working at USC where he served as a professor of photography and writing.

If you've got the time, read this fantastic interview with Kershner from October when he revisited EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for the release of "The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back."

Extra Tidbit: Kershner and Leslie Nielsen in the same day?...
Source: JoBlo.com

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9:39PM on 11/29/2010
My thoughts and prayers go out the family of a man who made the greatest "Star Wars" flick in the original trilogy. Mr. Kershner, you will be missed.
My thoughts and prayers go out the family of a man who made the greatest "Star Wars" flick in the original trilogy. Mr. Kershner, you will be missed.
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8:15PM on 11/29/2010
The only man to direct a film in 2 of the top 3 film franchises of all time. That's pretty impressive. He's also the only person next to Spielberg who was able to make a great film under Lucas' nose. That's even more impressive. R.I.P. Irvin Kershner. You've made a film that is truly beloved and will be forever.

BTW, I'm confused if we're supposed to green bar or red bar this so I'm leaving it neutral.
The only man to direct a film in 2 of the top 3 film franchises of all time. That's pretty impressive. He's also the only person next to Spielberg who was able to make a great film under Lucas' nose. That's even more impressive. R.I.P. Irvin Kershner. You've made a film that is truly beloved and will be forever.

BTW, I'm confused if we're supposed to green bar or red bar this so I'm leaving it neutral.
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7:59PM on 11/29/2010
He's not really dead. He's just more powerful than we can possibly imagine. Now he's gonna come back and kick Lucas's ass.
He's not really dead. He's just more powerful than we can possibly imagine. Now he's gonna come back and kick Lucas's ass.
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+10
7:17PM on 11/29/2010
If your only major credit is directing the finest movie ever put to film . . . You still kick everyone's ass.

We'll miss you, Kersh.
If your only major credit is directing the finest movie ever put to film . . . You still kick everyone's ass.

We'll miss you, Kersh.
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7:00PM on 11/29/2010
Rest in peace Irvin Kershner. Your crowning achievement will always be remembered. The Empire Strikes Back is a true masterpiece. Star Wars was never the same afterward.
Rest in peace Irvin Kershner. Your crowning achievement will always be remembered. The Empire Strikes Back is a true masterpiece. Star Wars was never the same afterward.
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4:32PM on 11/29/2010
I've always loved Robocop 2. It's a fun film. Empire Strikes Back is a great bit of cinema though. Most filmmakers can only wish they get to make something that influential.
I've always loved Robocop 2. It's a fun film. Empire Strikes Back is a great bit of cinema though. Most filmmakers can only wish they get to make something that influential.
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4:01PM on 11/29/2010
Thank you, Irvin, for making my favorite Star Wars film, and for being a class act. You will be missed.
Thank you, Irvin, for making my favorite Star Wars film, and for being a class act. You will be missed.
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+2
3:58PM on 11/29/2010

Legends!

We're watching 2 awesome movies. RIP Leslie Nielsen & Irvin Kershner. U guys will forever be remembered - [link]
We're watching 2 awesome movies. RIP Leslie Nielsen & Irvin Kershner. U guys will forever be remembered - [link]
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+2
3:28PM on 11/29/2010
R.I.P. Thank you for directing the best film in the series and changing Star Wars forever
R.I.P. Thank you for directing the best film in the series and changing Star Wars forever
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2:14PM on 11/29/2010

RIP and Thank You

The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie ever. I'll always be grateful for the amazing job you did on it and the inspiration it gave me.

Rest in Peace
The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie ever. I'll always be grateful for the amazing job you did on it and the inspiration it gave me.

Rest in Peace
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+2
1:17PM on 11/29/2010
WTF????? this is trully a sad sad day for all movie lovers the world over, first Mr Leslie Nielsen, now Mr Irvin Kershner???

hollywood is now poorer...

R.I.P. Mr Irvin Kershner
WTF????? this is trully a sad sad day for all movie lovers the world over, first Mr Leslie Nielsen, now Mr Irvin Kershner???

hollywood is now poorer...

R.I.P. Mr Irvin Kershner
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1:11PM on 11/29/2010

A sad day indeed

I recently was putting a list of my favorite movies of all time at this point and I always went back to Empire as the pinnacle of excellence. Thank you Mr. Kershner and a very solemn condolences to his family and friends.
I recently was putting a list of my favorite movies of all time at this point and I always went back to Empire as the pinnacle of excellence. Thank you Mr. Kershner and a very solemn condolences to his family and friends.
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+1
1:03PM on 11/29/2010

Greatest Star Wars director ever! RIP Mr. Kershner.

!!!
!!!
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12:56PM on 11/29/2010

Never seen Empire Strikes Back but

I love Robocop 2, a really fun gritty movie. Wish he would've gotten a chance to direct Robocop 3 what a turd that movie turned out to be.
I love Robocop 2, a really fun gritty movie. Wish he would've gotten a chance to direct Robocop 3 what a turd that movie turned out to be.
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1:06PM on 11/29/2010
You really need to get on the case dude... it's sad to know a fellow Schmoe hasn't seen Empire.
You really need to get on the case dude... it's sad to know a fellow Schmoe hasn't seen Empire.
12:54PM on 11/29/2010
R.I.P. Mr. Kershner, you gave the world one of the best films ever made and your legacy will live on for generations to come.
R.I.P. Mr. Kershner, you gave the world one of the best films ever made and your legacy will live on for generations to come.
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12:33PM on 11/29/2010

This will be a day long remembered.

What a terrible start to the week. Cinema loses two great Legends. R.I.P Sirs.
What a terrible start to the week. Cinema loses two great Legends. R.I.P Sirs.
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12:03PM on 11/29/2010
What a shitty way to start the week. First I read about Leslie Nielsen and now this...sheesh
What a shitty way to start the week. First I read about Leslie Nielsen and now this...sheesh
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11:43AM on 11/29/2010

As if mondays weren't bad enough....

I have no words for the feeling i got when i read that headline... Love ya Kersh.
I have no words for the feeling i got when i read that headline... Love ya Kersh.
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+1
11:43AM on 11/29/2010
Director of what is possibly my favourite film ever. Seemed like a sweet and decent man too. RIP
Director of what is possibly my favourite film ever. Seemed like a sweet and decent man too. RIP
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11:31AM on 11/29/2010
Don't forget Eyes of Laura Mars... Another great movie from The Kersh... And I too think that Robocop 2 is highly underrated... Him and Leslie the same day... Now THAT's bad omen !!!
Don't forget Eyes of Laura Mars... Another great movie from The Kersh... And I too think that Robocop 2 is highly underrated... Him and Leslie the same day... Now THAT's bad omen !!!
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10:52AM on 11/29/2010

RIP

He made 2 great movies, in my opinion. Robocop 2 is a movie for guys who like movies. He and Frank Miller did a wonderful job, and I think it's unfairly underrated.
He made 2 great movies, in my opinion. Robocop 2 is a movie for guys who like movies. He and Frank Miller did a wonderful job, and I think it's unfairly underrated.
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+3
10:50AM on 11/29/2010

Rest in peace, Kirsh...

Best. Movie. Ever.
Best. Movie. Ever.
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10:40AM on 11/29/2010

Thanks Sir

Thanks for making that really damn great Star Wars movie.
Thanks for making that really damn great Star Wars movie.
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10:33AM on 11/29/2010
Thanks for your legacy and thanks for directing the best Star Ware movies of all time. You will be missed.
Thanks for your legacy and thanks for directing the best Star Ware movies of all time. You will be missed.
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10:25AM on 11/29/2010
Damn shame to see these two very talented people go. Who's going to be next? Don't celebrity deaths always happen in threes?
Damn shame to see these two very talented people go. Who's going to be next? Don't celebrity deaths always happen in threes?
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10:16AM on 11/29/2010
Greatest Star Wars director ever! RIP Mr. Kershner.
Greatest Star Wars director ever! RIP Mr. Kershner.
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10:14AM on 11/29/2010

RIP Irvin Kershner

Thank you for creating one of the greatest sequels of all time, I'll no doubt be in awe of it for the rest of my life.
Thank you for creating one of the greatest sequels of all time, I'll no doubt be in awe of it for the rest of my life.
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