Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen & Irvin Kershner Pass On

1926 – 2010

Veteran comic actor Leslie Nielsen, star of Airplane! and The Naked Gun, has died at the age of 84.

He died in hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was being treated for pneumonia, his agent John S Kelly said.

Canadian-born Nielsen started out as a serious actor but in 1980, his role as a hapless doctor in the disaster spoof film Airplane! made him a comic star.

In all, he appeared in more than 100 films and had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

1923 – 2010

Irvin Kershner, director of Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back, has died in Los Angeles aged 87, his agent has confirmed.

Kershner - who also directed James Bond film Never Say Never Again - died at home after a long illness, according to his goddaughter Adriana Santini.

Born in Philadelphia in 1923, Kershner trained as a musician before making documentaries and then features.

His other credits include Robocop 2 and Eyes of Laura Mars with Faye Dunaway.

Known as "Kersh", the director was behind the camera when Sir Sean Connery reprised his 007 role in 1983's Never Say Never Again.

The University of Southern California film school graduate had previously worked with Connery on his 1966 romantic drama A Fine Madness.

Kershner also directed Barbra Streisand in 1972 comedy Up the Sandbox and Richard Harris in 1976 sequel The Return of a Man Called Horse.

Yet he remains best known for The Empire Strikes Back, considered by many to be the best film in the Star Wars series.

"I think it went beyond Star Wars," he once said. "You had some humour [and] you got to know the characters a little better.

"I saw it as the second movement in an opera."