From Lawrence of Arabia to Fifty Shades, She Was 'Greatest of the Great'

Film editor Anne V. Coates dies at 92
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2018 6:00 PM CDT
Her Famous Film Edit Was Said to Have Inspired Spielberg
In this Nov. 12, 2016, file photo, Anne V. Coates arrives at the 2016 Governors Awards in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Oscar-winning film editor Anne V. Coates, widely considered one of the greatest in her field, has died at the age of 92. A rep from WME Entertainment says she passed away Tuesday at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif., per the AP. The niece of British film mogul J. Arthur Rank, she tried to break into the industry in the '50s as a director but soon turned to editing, a line of work more open for women. She went on to edit dozens of films during a 60-year career, including historical epics (Lawrence of Arabia), art-house favorites (The Elephant Man), light comedy (What About Bob?), and sexier fare (Fifty Shades of Grey). Perhaps her most famous edit: the "match cut" in Lawrence of Arabia, which juxtaposes a shot of Lawrence blowing out a match with one of the sun rising on the desert horizon. It's a cut that's said to have inspired Steven Spielberg to make films.

Born in Reigate, England, Coates first became a fan of film in high school after seeing Wuthering Heights with Laurence Olivier. Coates loved her job so much she waited until she was nearly 90 to retire. In 2016, she became only the second film editor, after Margaret Booth, to receive an honorary Oscar. "Can you imagine a job where you're actually paid to look into the eyes of George Clooney ... Richard Burton ... Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere, Daniel Craig ... and Mr. 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' Jamie Dornan?" she said. In presenting the honor, Richard Gere described Coates as "the greatest of the great, great film editors." Coates won a competitive Oscar for 1962's Arabia and was nominated four other times: for Becket, The Elephant Man, In the Line of Fire, and Out of Sight. She married director Douglas Hickox in 1958 and had three children, all of whom work in the film industry: Sons Anthony Hickox and James DR Hickox are directors; daughter Emma Hickox is an editor.

(More obituary stories.)

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