Jim Faris, Emmy-Nominated Film Editor, Dies at 97

Jim Faris - Publicity-H 2016
Courtesy of Valerie Faris

The father of 'Little Miss Sunshine' co-director Valerie Faris worked on 'The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet' and several series produced by Aaron Spelling.

Jim Faris, the father of Little Miss Sunshine co-director Valerie Faris and a film editor in Hollywood for more than four decades, has died. He was 97.

Faris, who worked on TV comedies like The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet and That Girl as well as on several hourlong series executive produced by Aaron Spelling, died Oct. 14 at a hospital near his home in Santa Cruz, Calif., his daughter told The Hollywood Reporter.

Faris edited Spelling-produced shows including Mod Squad, The Rookies, S.W.A.T., Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Family, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 1978.

Earlier, he worked on the famed ABC comedy Ozzie & Harriet in the 1950s and then on such '60s Warner Bros. Television shows as Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, Hawaiian Eye and Lawman. He directed an episode of the latter as well.

Faris also edited the 1970 TV special Horton Hears a Who!, the pilot of Gilligan's Island and episodes of The Addams Family, Combat! and Here Come the Brides, and he contributed to the 1981 film Taps.

Faris attempted to clear up just what a film editor does in a 2010 interview with the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "A lot of people think of editing as just putting slices together," he said. "A dictionary has all the words of the English language in it, but it's not a great novel."

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Faris came to Los Angeles in 1943, inspired to work in show business after meeting a film lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He began his career at MGM, where he worked as a sound editor and film editor on the 1944 films Gaslight and National Velvet and on Tex Avery and Tom & Jerry cartoons.

It was at MGM where Faris met Paula Forbes, who was working as a supervising painter on the Tom & Jerry shorts, and they married on June 6, 1948. 

He and his wife left Los Angeles in 1983, and he was one of the five founders of a retirees group affiliated with UC Santa Cruz called Lifelong Learners, which more than 30 years later has more than 600 members, the family noted. The couple also hosted film seminars in their home for decades.

Valerie Faris' husband is Jonathan Dayton, who teamed with his wife to helm the best picture nominee Little Miss Sunshine (2006). Jim Faris can be seen in the popular film eating scrambled eggs.

In addition to his daughter, son-in-law and wife of 68 years, survivors include his sons Jim and Brian, their respective spouses Natasha and Catherine and his grandchildren Stephen, Benjamin, Sarah, Francesca, Augusta, Everett and James.

A celebration of his life will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the Pacific Cultural Center in Santa Cruz.