Director Irvin Kershner, the helmer of what in many estimations is the finest entry in the "Star Wars" saga, "The Empire Strikes Back," has died.
A graduate of the University of Southern California film school, Kershner cut his teeth in the film industry like many colleagues of his day, thanks to Roger Corman, who hired him to direct "Stakeout On Dope Street." He would collect a handful of television and film credits before landing the biggest job of his life, directing the sequel to the smash hit "Star Wars." It was a movie that would forever link him to a generation of fans and would become the film he would be best known for.
He told Vanity Fair earlier this year that, "Fans have written over the last 30 years telling me how eagerly they awaited the second film of the trilogy. I hadn’t realized how many young children would be seeing the film, and how it would affect them. I think the kids responded to the movement, the characters, and the fairy tale quality of the film."
Following 'Empire,' Kershner would direct two more franchise sequels. In 1983 he helmed the James Bond entry "Never Say Never Again" and in 1990 "Robocop 2," but neither would have the lasting cultural impact of "The Empire Strikes Back."