David Brenner, an Oscar-winning film editor who worked on dozens of films including “Justice League,” “Independence Day” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” died on Thursday, Variety has confirmed. He was 59.
“He was an extraordinary editor and a loving, compassionate family man,” the American Cinema Editors, of which Brenner was a member, said in a statement. “In an effort to support David’s family during this terrible time, Lightstorm Entertainment has created this GoFundMe account. More important than any financial assistance this may provide, it’s an opportunity to let his wife Amber and his children Annie, Haider, and Sasha know how many other lives David touched.”
In 1990, Brenner won the Academy Award for film editing with director Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July,” starring Tom Cruise. He shared the award with editor John Hutshing. Stone recruited Brenner to edit nine of his films, including “Platoon,” “Salvador,” “Wall Street,” “Talk Radio,” “The Doors,” “Heaven & Earth,” “World Trade Center” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”
He also worked with director Zack Snyder on “Justice League,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Man of Steel” and the extra-long “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” He’s credited with trimming down “Batman v Superman” to its theatrical cut of two hours and 31 minutes. After the superhero film hit theaters, an “ultimate edition” of the film released with 31 minutes of additional footage.
In a statement to Variety, Snyder said he was “devastated at the loss of my dear friend and collaborator David Brenner. He was a gifted artist and one of the kindest people I have ever known. He will be deeply missed. My heartfelt condolences go to Amber and his children during this difficult time.”
Brenner was in post-production on James Cameron’s long-awaited sci-fi sequel “Avatar 2,” which is scheduled to release in theaters on Dec. 16. He was also tapped to edit “Avatar 3,” which shot simultaneously and is set for Dec. 20, 2024.
“For those of us lucky enough to know David, it was not his editorial skills that were most impressive (and they were extraordinary), it was his remarkable compassion for others and the love and commitment he had for his family,” wrote “Avatar” producer Jon Landau, who created Brenner’s GoFundMe page. “David will live in our hearts and memories, and he will forever be a part of our ‘Avatar’ Family.”
“I am extremely saddened and in shock by the passing of my co-editor. The entire ‘Avatar’ crew is mourning the loss of not only David as an incredible human being, but as an enormous talent. Not only is this a great loss to the editing community, but to the industry as well. He will be greatly missed,” Stephen Rivkin, “Avatar” co-editor and president of the American Cinema Editors, told Variety in a statement.
Cameron also posted a tribute to Brenner, saying “his talent, compassion and friendship will be truly missed.”
We have lost a very dear member of the #AvatarFamily, David Brenner, an editor extraordinaire on the Avatar sequels. Our hearts go out to his wife Amber and their children Annie, Haider and Sasha. His talent, compassion and friendship will be truly missed. pic.twitter.com/sXlV3mSX2l
— James Cameron (@JimCameron) February 18, 2022
With director Roland Emmerich, Brenner edited epic action movies “Independence Day,” “The Patriot,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012.” His other credits include James Mangold’s “Kate & Leopold” and “Identity,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Wanted,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “300: Rise of an Empire” and many more over a nearly 40-year career.
In a Facebook post, Emmerich called Brenner “a beloved husband and father, as well as dear and very gifted friend.”
“David was an extraordinary artist and a kind and gentle man,” wrote director Rob Marshall, who helmed “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” “We were incredibly lucky to have collaborated with such a beautiful spirit. We are deeply saddened by this unimaginable loss — and we send our most profound sympathies.”