Director of 'Robocop,' 'Star Wars,' and James Bond sequel alike, Irvin Kershner has passed away at 87. Empire Magazine reports that the filmmaker "died at his home following a long illness."

A student of photography, Kershner began his directorial career in 1958 with the Roger Corman-produced 'Stakeout on Dope Street.' After much TV work, he directed 1978's 'Eyes of Laura Mars' before being invited by George Lucas to helm 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.'

After initially refusing the offer, Kershner asked Lucas why he was the choice, to which Lucas reportedly replied, "Well, because you know everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know, but you're not Hollywood." An unsurprising box-office success, 'Empire' faced a mixed critical reaction, but would later be regarded by most as the best film in the series.

Following 'Empire,' Kershner made 1983's "unofficial" Bond sequel/remake, 'Never Say Never Again,' as well as 1990's 'Robocop 2.' He made his acting debut in Martin Scorsese's 'The Last Temptation of Christ' in 1988, and he retired from directing in 1993.

Check out a great two-part interview with Kershner after the jump.
categories Cinematical