'Empire Strikes Back' director Irvin Kershner dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Irvin Kershner — who directed the Star Wars sequel “The Empire Strikes Back,” the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again” and “Robocop 2” — has died at age 87.

Oklahoman Modified: November 29, 2010 at 11:28 am •  Published: November 29, 2010
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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.

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AP Entertainment writer Alicia Quarles in New York and AP writer Angela Doland in Paris contributed to this report.

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