Orven Schanzer, a film editor whose career in the entertainment industry spanned 45 years, died in Los Angeles on Jan. 5, 2022 of respiratory arrest. He was 97 years old.
Born Oct. 13, 1924 in Kansas City, Kan., Schanzer served in World War II before beginning a career in film on the post-production side at 20th Century Fox in Jan. 1947.
Schanzer broke out of the Fox mailroom by working for three years as Fox studio chief Darryl Zanuck’s “errand boy,” leading him to his career in editing. Schanzer helped cut Marilyn Monroe vehicles like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “The Seven-Year Itch.”
“It was a love affair with Fox, it was so wonderful. I’d wake up in the morning and really couldn’t wait ’till I got to the studio,” Schanzer recalled in a 2019 interview.
Schanzer also cut Jayne Mansfield films and the TV series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” He was one of 12 editors assigned to Elizabeth Taylor’s 1963 “Cleopatra.” His final editing credit at Fox came with the seminal 1979 science-fiction film “Alien.”
After editing, Schanzer transitioned into a career in worldwide distribution at Fox, which he continued in until his retirement in 1992.
Schanzer was also close acquaintances with Robert Wise, the famed director of films such as “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music,” but also a longtime film editor himself, with credits including “Citizen Kane” and “The Fallen Sparrow.” Schanzer was also close with sports documentary director and producer Jonah “Bud” Greenspan.
Beyond filmmaking, Schanzer received recognition during the later years of his life for his work as a co-founder, activist and fundraiser for Ambor Schanzer Fight Against Neuropathy (ASFAN). Schanzer and his sisters suffered from the degenerative nerve disease.
Schanzer is survived by his daughter, Lisa Gilman-Schanzer; his nephew, Bill Fishman; his niece, Hope Fishman Pessis; great nephews and nieces, Rob and Spencer Bennett Pessis, Kelly Pessis-Breese, Steve and Hudson Breese, and Jessica, Rylan and Jonathan Fishman.