known as "Kersh" by his admirers and friends, Irvin Kershner's background
is a mixture of music and art. The study of music - violin, viola and composition
- was the most important activity of his early years. He attended Temple
University - Tyler School of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Later, he went
to New York and Provincetown to study with the famous painting teacher
Hans Hofmann. He then moved to Los Angeles where he studied photography
at the Art Center College of Design. Mr. Kershner's accomplishments as
a painter, photographer and musician are all evident in his work as film
He began his film career at the USC School of Cinema teaching photography and taking cinema courses under Slavko Vorkapich, the great montage artist and then Dean of the School of Cinema. Kersh next accepted a job as still photographer on a State Department film project in Iran under the Four Point Program, which ultimately led to an assignment as a director and cinematographer of documentaries in Iran, Greece and Turkey with the United States Information Service.
When he returned to the States, he and the late Paul Coates developed Confidential File, a documentary television series. Kersh worked as writer, director, cinematographer and editor. He later developed and directed the television series The Rebel, as well as the pilots for Peyton Place, Cain's One Hundred, Philip Marlow, and more.
He filmed Stakeout on Dope Street independently, and when it was bought by Warner Bros. he was on his way. It also marked the debut of cinematographer Haskell Wexler.
Some of Kershner's best known films are The Hoodlum Priest which starred Don Murray, The Luck of Ginger Coffey with Robert Shaw and Mare Ure (this film in recent years has attained cult status), A Fine Madness, showcasing the talents of Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward and Jean Seberg, The Flim Flam Man starring George C. Scott, Up the Sandbox with Barbra Streisand, Return of a Man Called Horse starring Richard Harris, the critically acclaimed TV movie, Rain on Entebbe which was nominated for 9 Emmys, including Best Direction, The Eyes of Laura Mars starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy and one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery's return to the role of James Bond, the HBO film Traveling Man starring John Lithgow and Jonathan Silverman, for which Kersh was nominated for an ACE award, and Robocop 2, co-written by legendary Batman scribe Frank Miller. Kershner also directed the pilot for the Amblin TV series SeaQuest.
Currently Kershner is working on a film for Largo Entertainment called The Coming Of Eddie Lomax. He's also preparing a script based on John Hersey's book A Single Pebble. It takes place in 1927 in Shanghai.
Kersh continues to lecture at universities throughout the U.S.