FilmEdge was sad to hear of the death of editor Sally Menke this morning, apparently succumbing to heat-related causes while she was hiking near Griffith Park yesterday. Menke was 56 years old.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Menke went hiking with her dog and a companion yesterday morning on a day that yielded a record-breaking high temperature of 113 degrees downtown. When the hiking partner turned back along a trail in Bronson Canyon, Menke proceeded with her dog and did not return. Friends and family contacted authorities who began a search of the canyons, and Menke’s body was found in a ravine about 2am Tuesday morning with her unharmed dog at her side.
Sally Menke was filmmaker Quentin Tarantino‘s longtime editor and collaborator, receiving Academy Award nominations for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and PULP FICTION. Occasionally directors and editors achieve an unusually loyal, creatively intimate connection and the sum of their combined efforts often equal more than their individual parts in a project. Similar partnerships have been forged like that between Steven Spielberg and Michael Kahn, but Tarantino felt his screenwriting and storytelling were inextricably linked to his collaboration with Menke in the editing room. Note Tarantino’s comment in this interview below how he considered his script the first cut of the film and Sally’s last cut of the film the final draft of the script. Also included in this clip are Tarantino and cast’s traditional “Hi Sally” greetings in between takes.
Sally Menke’s talent and future contributions to cinema history will be missed, but her existing work will be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come.