Antony Gibbs, Editor of ‘Dune,’ ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ Dies at 90

Anthony Gibbs Editor Dead
Courtesy of Dune Info Youtube

Antony Gibbs, a British-born film editor who cut dozens of pictures, including such ’60s classics as “Tom Jones” as well as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Rollerball,” “Dune” and “Ronin,” died February 26. He was 90.

The Guild of British Film and Television Editors reported his death on Facebook.

Gibbs was nominated for four of the American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Awards, including for “Tom Jones” in 1964 and “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1972. He won Eddies in 1998 for his work on John Frankenheimer’s TNT miniseries “George Wallace,” starring Gary Sinise, and in 2002 for his editing of Mark Rydell’s TNT TV movie “James Dean,” starring James Franco (a film for which he also picked up an Emmy nomination). Also in 2002, he received an ACE career achievement award.

The ACE said of Gibbs in 2002: “With ‘Reindeer Games’  he continued his successful collaboration with John Frankenheimer, but his friend director Mark Rydell allowed Tony to accomplish something nobody has ever done in the A.C.E. annals; with his edit of ‘James Dean,’ a MOW for TNT, he is the only editor ever to be nominated for an A.C.E. Eddie Award and chosen to be an A.C.E. Career Achievement Award recipient in the same year. Absolutely deserving for an editor whose career startled us with his editorial innovations in the British New Wave and still amazes us with his ability to stay ahead of the crowd by infusing editing with new ideas.”          

Gibbs received the first of his two Emmy nominations for Rydell’s 1996 HBO TV movie “Crime of the Century,” about the Lindbergh kidnapping case.

Gibbs began his editing career in the mid-1950s, working at first as an assistant to Ralph Kemplen and to Alan Osbiston; through these editors, Gibbs became involved from the beginning in the “New Wave” of British filmmaking of the early 1960s. Osbiston (with Gibbs’ assistance) edited “The Entertainer” (1960), starring Laurence Olivier and directed by Tony Richardson, one of the key British New Wave directors.

Gibbs was principal editor for “A Taste of Honey” (1961), “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” (1962) and “Tom Jones” (1963), all directed by Richardson, as well as Richard Lester’s “The Knack …and How to Get It” (1965) and “Petulia” — all classics of 1960s filmmaking. On Richardson’s 1965 cult classic “The Loved One,” which was produced in Hollywood, Gibbs served as supervising editor.

Gibbs edited 1970’s “Performance,” starring James Fox and Mick Jagger and directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg, and Roeg’s Australia-shot “Walkabout,” and around this time relocated to Hollywood, where he began with a very high-profile assignment, editing Jewison’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”

In addition to “George Wallace,” Gibbs worked with director Frankenheimer on 1998 action film “Ronin” and 2000’s “Reindeer Games.”

Gibbs also had a long association with director Norman Jewison beginning with “Fiddler on the Roof” and continuing with musical adaptation “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973); futuristic sports actioner “Rollerball” (1975); union story “F.I.S.T.” (1978), starring Sylvester Stallone; mercenaries-in-Africa story “The Dogs of War” (1980), starring Christopher Walken; “Agnes of God” (1985), starring Jane Fonda and Meg Tilly; and “In Country” (1989), starring Bruce Willis as a troubled Vietnam veteran.

During the 1970s Gibbs edited films including “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea” (1976) and Richard Attenborough’s World War II epic “A Bridge Too Far” (1977). In the 1980s his credits included Sean Penn prison drama “Bad Boys” (1983), David Lynch’s controversial adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and the more intimate films “Stealing Home,” starring Jodie Foster and Mark Harmon, and the Kentucky-set “In Country.”

In the 1990s Gibbs edited films including the Mel Gibson-directed “The Man Without a Face” (1993), also starring Gibson; “Don Juan DeMarco” (1994) with Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway; and Frankenheimer’s “Ronin.”

Gibbs retired after working on “James Dean” in 2001.

“The generation of American editors of which Dede Allen is a part has given considerable credit for the inspiration of their work to Antony Gibbs, the English editor of films directed by, amongst others, Tony Richardson, Nicholas Roeg, and Richard Lester,” writes Roger Crittenden in his 1995 book “Film and Video Editing.” “There is a daring and energetic quality to Tony Gibbs’ work, especially in some sequences of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,’ ‘Tom Jones,’ ‘The Knack,’ and ‘Performance,’ which must have given a shot of adrenaline to aspiring editors on both sides of the Atlantic at the time. Dede ascribes her work on ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ directly to the influence of Tony Gibbs.”

Gibbs is survived by his wife, Sherrye; six children; 14 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.