John McSweeney Jr., an Oscar-nominated film editor who began his career at MGM in the 1930s as a payroll clerk, died Wednesday of natural causes at his home in Redondo Beach. He was 83.
A New York City native who attended Regis High in Manhattan, McSweeney moved to Hollywood in the’30s intent on a film career and landed an entry-level position at MGM as a clerk in the payroll department. He later transferred to the editorial department as an assistant to feature editor Harold Kress and subsequently worked on “Mrs. Miniver” and “Randon Harvest” among other films.
Following World War II service in the Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Corps, McSweeney returned to MGM and in 1952 was given his first assignment as an editor, on Mervyn LeRoy’s “Lovely to Look At.”
Additional MGM film credits included “Dangerous When Wet,” “Million Dollar Mermaid,” “Latin Lovers,” “Hit the Deck” and “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.”
In 1962 McSweeney was nominated for an Academy Award for editing MGM’s remake of “Mutiny on the Bounty.” His final editing assigmnents for MGM during the 1960s included “The Money Trap,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Double Trouble.”
In 1969, McSweeney went freelance and cut numerous features including “Me, Natalie” starring Patty Duke, “Evel Knievel” starring George Hamilton and Michael Douglas’ first two features, “Hail Hero” and “Adam at Six A.M.” McSweeney also worked in TV as film editor on such series “Macmillan and Wife,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Trapper John, M.D.”
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Peggy, two sons; four daughters (including Colleen McSweeney Mitchell, a former segment producer for KABC’s “A.M. Los Angeles” and Meg McSweeney, an administrator at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York); nine grandchildren; and a sister.
Family suggests donations to Regis High School, 55 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028.