Longtime USC film teacher Mel Sloan dies

Taught Kershner, Lucas and Zemeckis the art of filmmaking

Mel Sloan, an influential faculty member at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for more than 50 years, died Jan. 12 from pneumonia at his home in Van Nuys, Calif. He was 86.

Sloan served on the SCA faculty from 1946 until his retirement in 1997. He taught a wide variety of courses for undergraduates and graduates, including classes in his specialty, editing, and influenced such future movie makers as Irvin Kershner, Randal Kleiser, George Lucas, Walter Murch, Gary Rydstrom and Robert Zemeckis.

"Mel's remarkable legacy will live on through the storytellers and scholars who had the privilege of studying under him at the school," SCA dean Elizabeth Daley said. "With a genuine commitment and enthusiasm for teaching, he trained and nurtured generations of students who have gone on to shape the art form and the industry."

A native of the Bronx, Sloan interrupted his studies at USC with the outbreak of World War II and joined the military in 1943. He was stationed in Los Angeles and assigned to a film production unit. Working with Lloyd Nosler, editor of the 1925 version of "Ben-Hur," his duties included editing aerial briefing films.

After the war, Sloan partnered with Herb Farmer, Dave Johnson, Gene Moriarity and Dan Wiegand to help create the school's production curriculum.

From the late 1940s to the '70s, Sloan also worked on documentaries, ethnographic films and features including "Stakeout on Dope Street" (1958) with Kershner, producer Roger Corman, cinematographer Haskell Wexler and production manager Gene Peterson, who later taught with Sloan.

Sloan is survived by Rita, his wife of 60 years; their children, Jeff, Len and Barry; three grandchildren, Alyssa, Steven and Eric; and his sister, Irene Golden.

Details regarding memorial services are pending.
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