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Jon Gregory, the Oscar-nominated British film editor known for his work on Secrets & Lies, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, has died. He was 77.
Gregory died Sept. 9, his agent, Sue Greenleaves, told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was the kindest, most unassuming and humble client ever, and an incredible editor,” she said. No cause of death was disclosed.
Gregory, who got his start in the scenery department at the BBC, worked with director Mike Leigh for more than 30 years, starting with High Hopes (1988) and on other films including Naked (1993), Palme d’Or winner Secrets & Lies (1996), Another Year (2010), Mr. Turner (2014) and Peterloo (2018).
“Of course, the director always has the final word, but through collaborating with Jon, a true artist in his own right, and trusting in his vision, qualities in the material were revealed that I might not otherwise have known were there,” Leigh wrote in a piece for The Guardian that was published Monday.
“Jon might say to me: ‘It’s Thursday; leave me to it, and don’t come back till Tuesday.’ I would duly show up on Tuesday, and he would say: ‘Look, I’ve totally recut this sequence, but if you don’t like what I’ve done, I can put it all back as it was.’ And with rare exceptions, Jon’s radical new version would be a total revelation.”
Gregory also collaborated with director Mike Newell on An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), Donnie Brasco (1997), Pushing Tin (1999) and Four Weddings and a Funeral; with John Hillcoat on The Proposition (2005) and The Road (2009); and with Martin McDonagh on In Bruges (2008) and Three Billboards (2017), for which he received his Oscar nom.
Born on May 21, 1944, in what is now Pakistan, Gregory and his family moved to Bangalore, India and then in 1953 to England, where he attended Reigate School in Surrey. “The cinema was the only thing that interested me, so school suffered,” he said in 2018. “That’s the way I’ve always carried on, which is pretty irresponsible, really.”
Gregory didn’t need strong academic credentials to land a job on the scenery crew at the BBC, and it was there that he decided to become a film editor. He cut such TV programs as Play for Today, Open All Hours and Nancy Astor, then earned the first of his four BAFTA nominations for cutting the 1989 miniseries Traffik.
Gregory’s big-screen résumé also included Living Out Loud (1998), Beautiful Creatures (2000), Killing Me Softly (2002), Ned Kelly (2003), Penelope (2006) and Hysteria (2011).
Survivors include his second wife, Sue, his longtime partner whom he married last year; his children, Amanda and Claire; stepdaughter Sarah; and grandchildren Serenah, Summer, Kit, Gabriel J, Ava, Bodie, Asher, Gabriel and Erin.
“Jon is one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with,” two-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dick Pope said in 2019. “[His] editing is incredibly sympathetic to my cinematography. In the hands of a more ruthless editor, I wouldn’t get nearly such a crack at the visual side because I know it would be chopped up. But Jon lets things run. I’ve always loved working with Jon because I know that whatever I produce, he’ll make the most of it.”
Rhett Bartlett and Alex Ritman contributed to this report.
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