R.I.P. Irvin Kershner
Irvin Kershner had a long and varied career as a film and TV director, but let's be honest here, we all remember him for directing The Empire Strikes Back, which is generally the best-loved entry of the entire Star Wars saga. And while I do think it's the best of the bunch (though the original Star Wars is still my favorite... and yes, I think there is a distinction to be made there), it's important to me for another reason in that Empire was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater as a kid, going with my older sister, her boyfriend at the time, and our next door neighbor. And maybe more amazing still (to me, anyway), Kersh was the first movie director I ever knew by name - yes, before even George Lucas himself - thanks to the copious amounts of Topps ESB trading cards I accumulated as a kid.
I was already a Star Wars goner before seeing The Empire Strikes Back (despite having to wait another year or two to see the original when it finally came to HBO), but Kersh helped ensure it would become a lifelong thing, and for that I'm grateful.