Belfast Telegraph

Monday 2 March 2015

Empire Strikes Back director dies

Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, has died
Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, has died

Irvin Kershner, director of second Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back, has died.

He died aged 87 at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness, his goddaughter Adriana Santini said.

The former musician and photographer's early screen credits include A Fine Madness and Eyes Of Laura Mars.

It was the latter film that convinced Star Wars creator George Lucas he should helm The Empire Strikes Back but he initially turned down the offer, only to be persuaded because the producer valued his concentration on character development so highly.

Lucas said of Kershner: "He knew everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know... but was not Hollywood."

Kershner went on to direct Sean Connery's return to the role of James Bond after a six year break in Never Say Never Again, and Robocop 2.

He also acted, playing Zebedee in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation Of Christ and appeared as a film director in the Steven Seagal vehicle On Deadly Ground.

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