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Richard Marks, ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Terms of Endearment’ Editor, Dies at 75

Richard Marks, an Oscar-nominated film editor for “Apocalypse Now,” best picture winner “Terms of Endearment,” “Broadcast News,” and “As Good as It Gets,” died unexpectedly on Dec. 31 in New York City, his widow, film editor Barbara Marks, confirmed to Variety. He was 75.

His other editing credits include “The Godfather: Part II,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Julie & Julia,” “Serpico,” “Dick Tracy,” “Riding in Cars With Boys,” “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Father of the Bride.” Marks was a producer on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “What Planet Are You From?,” and “Pennies From Heaven.”

Marks was born on Nov. 10, 1943, in New York. He married his wife Barbara in 1967. Marks became an assistant editor on Francis Ford Coppola’s “Rain People” in 1969, then worked with Dede Allen on “Alice’s Restaurant” and “Little Big Man” in 1970. He became her co-editor on “Serpico.”

Marks received a career achievement award from the American Cinema Editors in 2013. He told Variety at the time that there was no “romantic story” about him starting in show business.

“I was running film cans around New York,” he said. “People would order 600 prints of a commercial, and part of my job was to screen them and ship them out. It was grueling, and low pay.”

ACE president Alan Heim said at the time that one of Marks’ most iconic sequences is in “Broadcast News,” when Joan Cusack’s character delivers a tape.

“She’s got to dive under people and jump over people,” Heim recalled. “It’s a chase scene, but it’s a comic chase scene. A couple of frames make a difference. It’s an incomparable piece of kinetic editing.”

Marks said in the interview that the chance to tinker with such details is part of the appeal of his craft: “The thing that attracted me to editing is the feeling that I can change things, hopefully for the better. You can’t do (that) in your own life. You don’t have that kind of control.”

Marks was nominated for an Oscar along with Walter Murch, Gerald B. Greenberg, and Lisa Fruchtman for “Apocalypse Now” after spending several years on Coppola’s Vietnam War epic. Coppola shot an unprecedented 1.5 million feet of footage for “Apocalyse Now.”

Marks edited all six of James Brooks’ feature films —  “Terms of Endearment,” “Broadcast News,” “As Good as It Gets,” “I’ll Do Anything,” “Spanglish,” and “How Do You Know,” which was Marks’ final credit.

Marks taught film editing at UCLA for more than a decade. Survivors include his widow and daughter Leslie. Funeral services are pending.

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