Irvin Kershner Dies

US director Irvin Kershner, who made "The Empire Strikes Back", has died at the age of 87, Star Wars creator George Lucas said Monday, praising him as a "mentor" and a "true gentleman."

Kershner, who also directed Sean Connery as James Bond in "Never Say Never Again" (1983) and Peter Weller in "Robocop II" (1990), died at home in Los Angeles after a long illness, his goddaughter Adriana Santini told AFP.

Lucas, who hired Kershner to make the second Star Wars movie in 1980, said he had lost a friend.

Irvin Kershner, a versatile movie director best known for "The Empire Strikes Back," the acclaimed 1980 sequel to George Lucas' blockbuster " Star Wars," has died. He was 87.

Kershner, who taught screenwriting at USC in more recent years, died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles after a 3 1/2-year battle with lung cancer, his family said.

A former documentarian whose more than 40-year career included work in television, Kershner earned his first credit as a feature film director for the low-budget 1958 crime drama "Stakeout on Dope Street."

Irvin Kershner, best known for directing the "Star Wars" sequel "The Empire Strikes Back," has died at the age of 87.

The filmmaker passed away at his Los Angeles home after a long bout with an unspecified illness, his goddaughter Adriana Santini told French news service AFP on Monday.

Born in 1923 in Philadelphia, Kershner studied music, painting and photography before turning his focus to filmmaking in the early 1950s. He got his start directing documentaries in Iran, Greece and Turkey for the United States Information Service, then returned to the States to develop the TV series "Confidential File" and "The Rebel."