Below is an excerpt from a profile on Kershner in the Fall 2006 edition of Settlement's Notes newsletter.
Millions know him as the man who directed what is widely considered to be the best of the Star Wars movies - The Empire Strikes Back. And while Irvin Kershner, who studied violin, viola (as suggested by “headmaster” Johan Grolle) and composition at Settlement Music School, is best known as a movie man (he’s directed Connery, Woodward, George C. Scott, Streisand, Dunaway and Richard Harris among others), he has done a little bit of everything and he credits it all to his first exposure to the arts at Settlement. First, he wanted to be a composer, but World War II broke out. When he came back after 3 years as a fighter bomber, he studied visual arts at Tyler School of the Arts at Temple, then to NYC, then to Provincetown where he studied with Jackson Pollack. After that, Kershner accepted a job as a still photographer on a State Department film project in Iran which ultimately led to an assignment as a director and cinematographer of documentaries in Iran, Greece, and Turkey with the Unites States Information Service. Later, as a film teacher at USC he met a student named George Lucas and the rest, as they say, is history.Kershner attended the School's 98th Anniversary Gala, and continued to speak well of his time here. Here he is pictured with fellow Settlement 100 honoree opera singer and vocal coach Badiene Magaziner.
One of “Kersh’s” most memorable Settlement Music School experiences came when he was 10 years old, nervously awaiting his student recital. In the second row was Albert Einstein, then a board member of the School, smiling. “I was sweating, shaking. He was the most famous man in the world and I played for him. Afterward he told me how good I was — which wasn’t true. But I got through it.”