“Tom Rolf, who won an Oscar for his work editing the 1983 space epic, The Right Stuff, has died aged 83,” reports the BBC. “Born in 1931 in Stockholm, Sweden, Rolf was a a ski patrolman and a seaman for the Norwegian Merchant Marine before emigrating to the US and entering the entertainment industry. He was given career guidance by his step-father, Jack Donohue—a choreographer and director at MGM—who advised him to go into the cutting room. ‘You will learn everything about directing by being a film editor first,’ he recalled being told.”
Carolyn Giardina for the Hollywood Reporter: “The respected editor of more than 40 films—including Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976), Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) and Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium (2002)—received the American Cinema Editors’ Career Achievement Award in 2003. He won an ACE Eddie trophy for John Badham’s WarGames (1983) and received additional ACE nominations for Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff (1983) and Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer (1998), as well as a BAFTA nom for Taxi Driver.”
Variety‘s Carmel Dagan has a statement from the ACE: “Over the years he served ACE in many capacities demonstrating a deep commitment to mentoring others, illuminating the editing craft and sharing his wisdom and experience with students and colleagues. His impressive body of work and his humanity influenced many of his peers leaving a singular legacy that will endure.”
In 2010, the Filmmaker’s Festival in Frankfurt spoke with Rolf about his life and career. You might want to skip the first minute or so, but after that, the interviewer gets to better questions, such as, “Would Taxi Driver be a different film if it was edited with the equipment of today?”
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