<i>Empire Strikes Back</i> Director Irvin Kershner Dies At 87

They say that celebrity deaths come in threes, and following the sad news of Naked Gun actor Leslie Nielsen's passing, another shoe has dropped: Irvin Kershner, the director of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 87. The Associated Press cites Kershner's goddaughter Adriana Santini as saying that the acclaimed filmmaker died in his California home after a long battle with illness.

In addition to directing The Empire Strikes Back -- considered by many, myself included, to be the finest film in the Star Wars saga -- Kershner's resume included the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, which features the final performance of Sean Connery as Agent 007, and Robocop II starring Peter Weller.

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