View Full Version : RIP Irvin Kershner

El Chuxter
11-29-2010, 11:49 AM
Because this is far too important to the world of Star Wars fandom than a mention in the "Official Dead Thread."

LOS ANGELES Irvin Kershner, who directed the Star Wars sequel "The Empire Strikes Back" and the James Bond film "Never Say Never Again," has died at age 87.

Kershner died Saturday in Los Angeles after a long illness, said Adriana Santini, a France-based actress who is a family friend. He is survived by two sons, she said. His agent, Derek Maki, also confirmed the death Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Kershner already had made a number of well-received movies when he was hired by George Lucas to direct "Empire," which was the second produced but fifth in the "Star Wars" chronology.

The 1980 production was a darker story than the original. In it, hero Luke Skywalker loses a hand and learns that villain Darth Vader is his father. The movie initially got mixed reviews but has gone on to become one of the most critically praised.

Kershner told Vanity Fair in October that he tried to give the sequel more depth than the original.

"When I finally accepted the assignment, I knew that it was going to be a dark film, with more depth to the characters than in the first film," he said. "It took a few years for the critics to catch up with the film and to see it as a fairy tale rather than a comic book."

Kershner said he had only one sharp disagreement with Lucas. The script originally called for the heroine, Princess Leia, to tell space pilot Han Solo "I love you" and for him to reply "I love you, too."

"I shot the line and it just didn't seem right for the character of Han Solo," Kershner said.

Instead, actor Harrison Ford improvised the reply: "I know."

Lucas wanted the original line but after test previews agreed to leave in Ford's reply, which has gone on to be one of the best-known lines in the series.

The Philadelphia-born Kershner had both musical and photographic training and worked as a freelance illustrator before he turned to filmmaking. He graduated from the University of Southern California film school and in the 1950s made U.S. government informational films in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East.

He was a director and cameraman for a television documentary series called "Confidential File" in Los Angeles before getting his first movie break in 1958 when Roger Corman hired him to shoot a low-budget feature called "Stakeout on Dope Street."

He went on to direct a number of noted features in the 1960s and 1970s, including "A Fine Madness" with Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward and Jean Seberg, "The Flim-Flam Man" with George C. Scott, "Loving" with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint, and "The Eyes of Laura Mars" with Faye Dunaway.

The 1976 television movie "Raid on Entebbe" earned him an Emmy nomination for direction.

Besides "Empire," his big-budget work included the 1983 James Bond movie "Never Say Never Again" with Connery and "Robocop 2" in 1990.

Kershner also was an occasional actor. He played the priest Zebedee in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ."

He also was a faculty member at the University of Southern California.

Darth Metalmute
11-29-2010, 01:02 PM
The Imperial Match should be played today in honor of you Irvin.

11-29-2010, 02:21 PM
I am blasting it in my apartment right now. Thanks for directing one of my favourite movies of all time Mr. Kershner.

11-29-2010, 04:15 PM
A very gracious fellow and a talented film maker.

11-29-2010, 04:50 PM
IK...you simply made the best Star Wars movie...ever.

11-29-2010, 07:46 PM
This is definitely a sad way to close out the 30th Anniversary of ESB. :cry:

Mr. JabbaJohnL
11-29-2010, 08:43 PM
I got to see him speak at Celebration IV back in 2007. From what I saw, and what I've seen elsewhere, he was hilarious and brilliant. Even though his death does come at the end of ESB's 30th anniversary, at least we got to (and still get to) celebrate the great film he left us.


Bel-Cam Jos
11-29-2010, 08:46 PM
He always showed genuine enthusiasm when talking about his time on the set; a rare combination of seriousness and fun. It's too bad there wasn't anyone close to his style for the films post-ESB. One of the greatest contributors to the Star Wars world. :cry:

El Chuxter
11-29-2010, 09:06 PM
You realize that this means that George Lucas is now the only surviving person to have directed a (primary) Star Wars movie.

11-29-2010, 09:20 PM
You realize that this means that George Lucas is now the only surviving person to have directed a (primary) Star Wars movie.

Are you suggesting GL is knocking off SW directors? :laugh:

El Chuxter
11-29-2010, 09:25 PM
That wasn't exactly what I was going for.

I think it's John Korty who's offing the SW directors.

Bel-Cam Jos
11-29-2010, 09:35 PM
I heard that George Luucas is an up-and-coming director; a little crazy at times, but with many of Lucas' skills behind the camera.

Can we clone Kershner, quickly?

11-29-2010, 09:41 PM
Can we clone Kershner, quickly?

I bought cryo-frozen samples of his DNA off eBay. The samples are on their way to Kamino, but I opted for standard growth, so it will take 20 years or so before he returns. :(

Qui-Long Gone
11-29-2010, 11:07 PM
Those 20 years will be worth the wait. RIP Professor Kershner...your SW film was the best EVAR!

11-29-2010, 11:11 PM
The man who made The Empire Strikes Back, The Empire Strikes Back. RIP Kersh :sleeping:

11-30-2010, 07:16 AM
RIP Kirsch

11-30-2010, 08:04 AM
I was so sad when I read this in the news yesterday!!! :(

12-07-2010, 02:36 AM
im was very sadden by this info a week ago ESB is the best movie ever made