Geraldine Peroni, Academy-Award nominated film editor and frequent collaborator with director Robert Altman, died August 3. A cause of death was not available. She was 51.
Peroni worked with Altman on eight features, including “The Player,” for which she was nominated for an Oscar, “Short Cuts,” and Altman’s most recent film, “The Company.”
The two had a rich, longstanding working relationship. “I trusted her totally with everything, I was planning on using her in the next film,” said Altman, “She and I saw very much the same way — we just read each other so well.”
Altman also described working with Peroni in a recent interview published in DGA Magazine: “I know many times I’ll shoot a certain thing and Ms. Peroni — you can tell by her face that she finds it in bad taste. I’ll say, ‘I know, but I want it to be in bad taste,’ and she’ll say, ‘Really?’ and already I’m blindsided by her because I know what she thinks of the material because she can’t disguise her feelings. So that affects me. It gets to the point where I could be shooting a scene and a little bird will jump in my ear and say, ‘Gerri’s not going to like this'”
Other Altman films that she edited include: “Vincent & Theo,” “Pret-A-Porter,” “Kansas City,” “The Gingerbread Man” and “Dr. T & The Women.”
Peroni was also the editor of, among others, Tim Robbins’ “Cradle Will Rock,” Nora Ephron’s “Michael,” Rose Troche’s “The Safety Of Objects,” Alison Maclean’s “Jesus’ Son” and episodes of HBO series “The Wire.” She had been working as editor on Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” — now in production — at the time of her death.
Born in Manhattan and raised in Rockaway Beach, Queens, she worked as a New York cab driver and was among the first women to take the NYC firefighters’ written exam in 1977 — the first year in which women were allowed to take the test
She then enrolled at Hunter College where she studied film. Her first job in the field was as an editorial apprentice on the film adaptation of Grace Paley’s “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute.” She was the assistant editor on John Sayles’ “Matewan,” and subsequently assisted Thelma Schoonmaker on Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Tempation of Christ” and the “Life Lessons” segment of “New York Stories.”
She is survived by a sister, a brother, two nieces and a nephew.