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Film editor Neil Travis dies at 75

Won Oscar for 'Dances With Wolves,' Emmy for 'Roots'

Film editor Neil Travis, who won an Oscar for his work on “Dances With Wolves” and an Emmy for his work on the miniseries “Roots,” died of natural causes at his home in Arroyo Grande, Calif., on Wednesday, March 28. He was 75.

In addition to Oscar best picture winner “Dances With Wolves,” Travis edited films including “Cocktail,” “No Way Out,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger” and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

Travis edited more than 25 films over the course of a career that spanned over four decades. He began in the entertainment business as an assistant editor at Paramount Studios in his early 20s, went on to work as a second editor for a Fox television series; soon thereafter, he helped edit his first feature, 1970’s “The Traveling Executioner.”

During the 1970s he edited several telepics, the landmark 1977 miniseries “Roots” and its sequel, and episodes of series including “Harry O.”

Feature work of the period included “The Cowboys” with John Wayne, “Jaws 2” and the Dom DeLuise comedy “Hot Stuff.”

His profile rose with work on Kevin Costner starrer “No Way Out”in 1987, Tom Cruise starrer “Cocktail” in 1988 and “Dances With Wolves,” for which he won an Oscar. Travis edited the Tom Clancy adaptations “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Sum of All Fears”; the Julia Roberts-Susan Sarandon vehicle “Stepmom”; Robin Williams starrer “Bicentennial Man”; and the Morgan Freeman thriller “Along Came a Spider.”

In 2003 he cut “Terminator 3,” and his last efforts, in 2007, were the Sandra Bullock thriller “Premonition” and, in a return to television, “The 79th Annual Academy Awards,” for which he shared an Emmy nomination.

Herbert Neil Travis was born in 1936 in Los Angeles. He received a bachelor’s degree in advertising art with a minor in theater arts from UCLA.

Travis was a member of the American Cinema Editors, and in 2010 he received ACE’s Career Achievement Award.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth; a son; and a daughter.

Services will be held in Arroyo Grande on May 12. Donations may be made to Hospice Partners of the Central Coast, YMCA or Boy Scouts of America.

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