Today we've had to process two great losses in the world of film as Leslie Nielsen and Irvin Kershner both passed away in the past couple of days. Kershner, who helmed what many revere as the greatest of the Star Wars saga, was a close friend of series creator George Lucas, who lost not only a colleague, but a true friend.

Lucas released a statement at StarWars.com echoing the sentiment Lucas and others are feeling as they mourn a lost visionary:
The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When I think of Kersh, I think of his warmth, his thoughtfulness and his talent. I knew him from USC -- I attended his lectures and he was actually on the festival panel that gave the prize to my THXshort. I considered him a mentor.

Following Star Wars, I knew one thing for sure: I didn't want to direct the second movie myself. I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over. I didn't want Empire to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures. I was trying to build something, and I knew Kersh was the guy to help me do it. He brought so much to the table. I am truly grateful to him.

He was a friend as well as a colleague. He will be missed.
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