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John Wright, Oscar-Nominated Film Editor on ‘Speed’ and ‘Hunt for Red October,’ Dies at 79



John Wright, the film editor who received Oscar nominations for his work on Jan de Bont’s Speed and The Hunt for Red October, one of six movies he cut for John McTiernan, has died. He was 79.

Wright died April 20 at his home in Calabasas after a battle with prostate and bone cancer, his wife of 57 years, Jane Wright, said. The News84Media.

Wright’s résumé also included such other high-profile films as Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy (1978), Paul Michael Glaser’s The Running Man (1987), Stan Dragoti’s Necessary Roughness (1991), John Woo’s Broken Arrow (1996), Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000), James Gartner’s Glory Road (2006) and Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk (2008).

He collaborated with director Mel Gibson on The Passion of the Christ (2004) and Apocalypto (2006); with Graeme Clifford on Frances (1982) and Gleaming the Cube (1989); and with Randall Wallace on Secretariat (2010) and Heaven Is For Real (2014).

Wright was nominated for an Emmy in 1989 for editing My Name Is Bill W.the Daniel Petrie-helmed telefilm about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous that starred James Woods and James Garner, then won two years later for cutting another CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Sarah, Plain and Tallstarring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken.

The latter was directed by Glenn Jordan. Wright also worked with Jordan on three other highly rated telefilms: 1979’s The Family Man, starring Ed Asner; 1984’s Heartsounds, starring Mary Tyler Moore; and 1980’s The Women’s Room, starring Lee Remick; and on two features: Only When I Laugh (1981) and Mass Appeal (1984).

After The Hunt for Red October (1990), Wright reunited with McTiernan on Last Action Hero (1993), Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), The 13th Warrior (1999) and remakes of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and Rollerball (2002).

Born in Glendale, Wright graduated from Van Nuys High School and landed his first job as an editor at KABC-TV. He then worked on National Geographic and Jacques Cousteau specials before serving as an assistant film editor on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and The Bad News Bears (1976).

The year 1976 saw him earn his first feature film editor credits, on Acapulco Gold and Dogsboth directed by Burt Brinckerhoff.

Wright also cut the 1978 pilot for the CBS drama The Paper Chase and the movies Separate Ways (1981), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), Deep Rising (1998) and A Belfast Story (2013).

In addition to his wife, survivors include his children, Amy and Cort, and his grandsons, Edgar, Holden and Dash.

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