Irvin Kershner, the highly respected American filmmaker who directed the second Star Wars movie 'Empire Strikes Back', has died at the age of 87. Kershner was personally handpicked to take charge of the sci-fi sequel by original creator George Lucas, and the 66-year-old has been paying tribute to his friend and colleague.
Speaking to StarWars.com, Lucas said, "The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word", before adding, "I attended his lectures and he was actually on the festival panel that gave the prize to my short. I considered him a mentor". Lucas went to say that he knew Kershner was the director to help him continue the Star Wars story, saying, "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".
Kershner, who also directed 'Robocop 2' and the 1983 James Bond movie 'Never Say Never Again', died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday 27th November 2010 after a long illness.