Hollywood Remembers Editor Tom Rolf

Tom Rolf - P 2014

Tom Rolf - P 2014

Hollywood is remembering Tom Rolf, the Academy Award-winning editor of The Right Stuff and dozens of other films who died July 14 at age 82.

The respected editor of more than 40 films — including Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), Michael Mann's Heat (1995), Phil Alden Robinson’s Sneakers 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), received additional ACE nominations for Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff (1983) and Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer (1998) and earned a BAFTA nom for Taxi Driver.

A native of Sweden, Rolf also served two terms as president of ACE and was a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Tom Rolf, ACE, was not only a prolific film editor but an integral and beloved member of our organization,” the ACE board of directors said in a statement. “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. We will miss him dearly and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family."

Academy Award-nominated editor and Academy governor Mark Goldblatt told The Hollywood Reporter: “He was unique, a true icon of editing and a great leader in the editing community. It was said that when he first screened his editor's cut of WarGames, the director bought off on it immediately with no additional notes.

“Tom was a great inspiration to younger editors. I remember when I was just starting my career, how welcoming he was to neophytes —inviting us to his editing room and patiently allowing us to observe. In later years, I had the good fortune to serve on the board of directors of ACE, under his presidency, as well as serving alongside him on the Academy Board of Governors. He always had terrific and well thought-out analyses and solutions to the issues we were grappling with. [He was] truly a man of great substance and grace, with a helluva sense of humor.”

Added Academy governor, editor Michael Tronick: “Tom Rolf exemplified the very best qualities of a film editor: talent, creativity, honesty and a sense of humor. Working alongside Tom was a privilege and a highlight of my career. Tom had the uncanny ability to make magic out of dailies. Tom was a unique individual.” 

Field of Dreams director Robinson told THR: “Tom Rolf was a masterful editor who could do it all, as brilliant at cutting character as he was at action. But more importantly, beneath the gruff exterior, he was so warm and kind, a great mentor and a loyal gentleman.”

And ACE Eddie-winning editor Stephen Lovejoy described Rolf as “a kind and caring man. Generous and giving to assistants, supportive and collaborative with colleagues. An outstanding ACE president during a time of rapid growth, upheaval and evolution. An incredibly talented editor, but even more important, a kind and loving person with a BIG heart and outstanding character. He is one of those people who seemed invincible.

“Tom, you have indeed … wait for it … cut to the chase!”

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com

Twitter: @CGinLA