After Hours

Remembering Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner

The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner died on November 27, 2010. Read two interviews with Mr. Kershner and a statement from George Lucas about his friend and mentor.

Irvin Kershner, who is best known for directing The Empire Strikes Back, died on November 27, 2010 at the age of 87. He also directed more than 20 other films, including Eyes of Laura Mars and the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

For a glimpse into his thoughts about The Empire Strikes Back — including fan reaction in 1980 vs. now, working with the actors, which scene was most difficult to shoot — read his October 2010 interview for Vanity Fair. (The site also features rarely seen photos from the Empire set.) There are also a lot of interesting details in Mr. Kershner's 1990 with the Lucasfilm Fan Club.

This is a statement from George Lucas about the news (originally posted on StarWars.com):

"The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing," says Lucas. "Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When I think of Kersh, I think of his warmth, his thoughtfulness and his talent. I knew him from USC — I attended his lectures and he was actually on the festival panel that gave the prize to my THX short. I considered him a mentor.

"Following Star Wars, I knew one thing for sure: I didn't want to direct the second movie myself. I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over. I didn't want Empire to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures. I was trying to build something, and I knew Kersh was the guy to help me do it. He brought so much to the table. I am truly grateful to him.

"He was a friend as well as a colleague. He will be missed."

Please tell us about your favorite scenes from The Empire Strikes Back or any of Mr. Kershner's films in the discussion.

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About Mary Weilage

Mary Weilage is a Feature Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

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