Oscar-Winning Hollywood Legend Famous for “Lawrence of Arabia” Passes Away

By Colin Fredericson

Hollywood legend Anne V. Coates died at 92 years old on May 8. She was best remembered for her editing work on cinema classic “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Coates won an Oscar for that movie, and her place an editing legend. A specific transition in the film: a match getting blown out and transforming into a rising sun, has been praised as one of the most genius edits in movie history, according to The A.V. Club.

In addition to her Oscar win, Coates was nominated for Academy Awards four other times. The movies she was nominated for include 1964’s “Becket,” 1980’s “Elephant Man,” 1993’s “In the Line of Fire,” and 1998’s “Out of Sight,” according to The Guardian.

Coates got into editing at a time when few men were attracted to the job in England. Only after men realized its creative potential did they come to fill editing positions, said Coates to another editing legend, Walter Murch, in an interview archived on FilmSound.org.

“When I first came into the industry in England, there were quite a lot of women editors. And then slowly they fell by the wayside. They didn’t seem to have the ambition, which I always thought was strange,” Coates told Murch. “In a way, I’ve never looked at myself as a woman in the business. I’ve just looked at myself as an editor.”

In the 1980s Coates moved from England to California to continue her career, according to The New York Times.

Coates won an honorary Oscar for her career in 2016, only the second editor to win the accolade, according to Variety.

Upon winning the award, she told Variety what she aims for when editing. She says she holds a duty “certainly to the story, followed closely by the director, but not at all by the audience. You must have the courage of your convictions.”

 

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