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Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi Craves Not These Things

By Brian Prisco | Miscellaneous | November 29, 2010 |

By Brian Prisco | Miscellaneous | November 29, 2010 |

For all the Scorcese’s and Coppola’s, there are plenty of directors who never really bother coming out from behind the camera. They show up, guns blazing, do their damned work, and walk away into the sunset. We marvel at their creations, but never really give them the credit they deserve until they’ve passed. Such was the case of Irvin Kershner, who passed away today at the age of 87.

Kershner will best be remembered for directing the best of all the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back. He also helmed the camera for Robocop 2 and my favorite of the Amazing Stories vignettes, “Hell Toupee.” Kersh was also to date the only American to direct one of the James Bond films, Never Say Never Again. (Unless you count Woody Allen. And you don’t count Woody Allen.) He had worked with Connery several years back, and was brought in to direct. He was also one of George Lucas’ film school teachers and then he was brought it to direct Empire. That’s the true measure of someone’s talent and worth — not that you’d work with them, but that you’d look them up to work with them again years later.

A Philadelphia native, Kersh got his start in the great B-movie grinder of Roger Corman. He was actually filming Empire on the same studio lot that Kubrick was shooting the Shining, and met Stephen King. Later, King would go on to write the novel “It,” which featured a character named “Mrs. Kersh” who talked like Yoda.

Recently, I saw him in the trailer for the documentary The Nature of Existence which was shot by the guy who made Trekkies. His was the best part (besides the wrestling ministry) where he basically said, “Nobody can be happy. You could have moments of happiness, moments of joy. But life is very difficult. Unless you’re a total idiot. Then you can be happy.”

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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