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Jim Clark, Oscar-Winning Editor of ‘The Killing Fields,’ Dies at 84

Jim Clark, who won an Oscar for editing Roland Joffé’s “The Killing Fields” and was also nominated for his work on the director’s film “The Mission,” died in the U.K. on Feb. 25. He was 84 and had been ill for some time.

News of his death was announced by the Guild of British Film and TV Editors on Feb. 26.

His credits also include Stanley Donen’s “Charade” (1963); John Schlesinger’s “Darling” (1965), “The Day of the Locust” (1975) and “Marathon Man” (1976); Michael Apted’s “Agatha” (1979), “Nell” (1994) and Bond film “The World Is Not Enough”; Michael Caton-Jones’ “Memphis Belle” (1990) and “City by the Sea” (2002); and Mike Leigh’s “Vera Drake” (2004) and “Happy-Go-Lucky” (2008).

In addition to the Schlesinger films listed above, he did uncredited work on the director’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” and served as a creative consultant on the helmer’s 1969 classic “Midnight Cowboy.”

Clark received the American Cinema Editors’ career achievement award in 2005.

Born James Clark in Boston, Lincolnshire, he eventually moved to London and began to work at Ealing Studios in 1951 as an assistant editor. He later served as freelance assistant editor, under editor Jack Harris, on two films directed by Donen. When Harris chose not to work on Donen’s next project, the director gave Clark the job on 1960’s “Surprise Package.”

In an interview on the Avid.com website, Clark said: “It was a fairly bad movie and probably would have finished my career before it had started, but luckily Stanley got another film, ‘The Grass Is Greener’ (1960), which he also asked me to edit. The cutting of the two films overlapped, which was great training for me. Soon after, I was asked to cut ‘The Innocents’ (1961), starring Deborah Kerr, which has since become a classic story-driven, supernatural horror film. It was very hard to cut, but that film really put me on the map.”

He was a founding member of the Guild of British Film Editors in 1966.

Clark directed a number of films, mostly documentary shorts. He made his feature directorial debut on “Rentadick” (1972), whose writers included Graham Chapman and John Cleese, and also helmed the horror film “Madhouse” (1974), which starred Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.

Clark’s memoir “Dream Repairman: Adventures in Film Editing” was published in 2011.

He is survived by his wife, fellow editor Laurence Méry-Clark, and three children.

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