Bud Friedgen, Editor on MGM’s 'That's Entertainment!' Films, Dies at 75


Bud Friedgen, an editor, writer and director who worked on the popular That’s Entertainment! documentary trilogy for MGM, died Sunday at the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.

To help commemorate the studio’s 50th anniversary, Friedgen creatively edited highlights from many of the classic 1920-50 MGM musicals for That’s Entertainment!, written and directed by Jack Haley Jr. The film, which featured footage of Judy Garland, Esther Williams, Ann Miller, Mickey Rooney and others, opened on New Year’s Day 1974 and was a surprising box-office hit, grossing about $19 million. Friedgen shared an ACE Eddie Award for his efforts.

Friedgen returned in 1976 to edit That’s Entertainment, Part II, which included comedy and drama as well as classic musical numbers, and he wrote, directed, produced and edited a third installment in 1994.

The son of Elva Fraser, for years a negative cutter in Hollywood, Friedgen shared an Emmy nomination in 1982 for editing the CBS Civil War miniseries The Blue and the Gray.

Friedgen attended Hollywood High School before starting his career as an apprentice editor on TV’s Gunsmoke. In 1958, he joined a new production company created by famed producer-documentarian David L. Wolper, then left for MGM’s documentary division, where he worked on Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972).

Friedgen’s editing résumé also includes the music-film documentaries Let the Good Times Roll (1973), This Is Elvis (1981) and Imagine: John Lennon (1988) and the TV series Men in Crisis, Beauty and the Beast and The New Mike Hammer.

Survivors include children Ruth, Peter and Rebecca; his grandchild James, whom he legally adopted as his son; and siblings Elliot, Christina and Mary.

A memorial service will take place at noon Friday at Village Church in Burbank. Donations may be sent to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, attention Palliative Care.

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