Arthur Schmidt Dead: Forrest Gump Film Editor Was 86

Arthur “Artie” R. Schmidt, who won Oscars for editing Robert Zemeckis films “Forrest Gump” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Saturday at his home in Santa Barbara. He was 86.

Schmidt and Zemeckis were longtime collaborators, having worked on a total of ten films together, including “Forrest Gump” (1994), the “Back to the Future” trilogy (1985-1990), “Cast Away” (2000), and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988). Other prominent films Schmidt worked on include “Jaws 2” (1978), “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980), for which he was Oscar-nommed; “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), “Death Becomes Her” (1992), “Addams Family Values” (1993) and “Contact” (1997). He was also brought on to help with “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003) in the midst of its production.

Additionally, Schmidt collaborated with director Mike Nichols on three films: “The Fortune” (1975) “The Birdcage” (1996), and “Primary Colors” (1998). He also took on the challenge of editing a film that combines both animation and live-action: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

Schmidt was born in Los Angeles on June 17, 1937. His father, Arthur P. Schmidt, was also a lauded film editor, having worked on classic films like “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “Sabrina” (1954) and “Some Like it Hot” (1959). Following his father’s death at the age of 52, Paramount offered Schmidt an apprenticeship in 1965, and it was then that he began to carry on the family legacy of editing. Early films he assisted with were “Little Big Man” (1970) and “Marathon Man” (1976), under acclaimed editors Dede Allen and Jim Clark, respectively. Over the course of his career, he worked with both film and digital, adapting from one medium to the other as technology shifted.

In 2009, Zemeckis presented Schmidt with the American Cinema Editors Career Achievement Award.

Schmidt is survived by his wife Susan Craig Schmidt, his brothers Fr. Ron Schmidt and Greg Schmidt, and four nieces and four nephews, many of whom continue the family legacy of working in the film industry.

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