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Mike Hill, Oscar-Winning Film Editor on ‘Apollo 13’ and 21 Other Ron Howard Films, Dies at 73



Mike Hill, the film editor who worked on 22 consecutive Ron Howard features, won an Oscar for his work on Apollo 13 and earning nominations for A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon, has died. He was 73.

Hill died Thursday of cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, a rare lung condition, at his home in Omaha, Nebraska, a family spokesperson announced.

Hill and editing partner Daniel P. Hanley partnered with Howard for the first time on Night Shift (1982) and for the last time on In the Heart of the Sea (2015).

In between, they handled Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Backdraft (1991), Ransom (1996), Edtv (1999), The Missing (2003) and The Da Vinci Code (2006), to name just seven films, in addition to their Oscar-lauded efforts on Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Cinderella Man (2005) and Frost/Nixon (2008).

Hill and Hanley also collected three BAFTA nominations, which included a win for Howard’s Rush (2013), and three ACE Eddie nominations.

“Mike was a remarkable and dedicated collaborator on our 22 movies but an even more valued friend,” Howard said in a statement. “He was a gifted and praised film editor, but he was even prouder of his family and the life they built together in Omaha.

“Mike was a highly intelligent and creative guy who lived his life with honesty, integrity and a great sense of irony and wicked humor. He also had pretty good corner jump shot as I recall from our three-on-three basketball days.”

Born in Omaha, Hill graduated from Omaha Burke High School, where he played football and basketball and later was inducted into its Hall of Fame. (He lectured often at the school as well as at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.)

His first editorial job was for an Omaha TV station as an assistant editor cutting commercials into movies like Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront (1954), both directed by Elia Kazan.

A couple years later, Hill was an apprentice editor at Paramount when he was tasked with synch-screening dailies for Kazan on The Last Tycoon (1976), the last film from the legendary filmmaker.

Survivors include his wife, LeAnne, daughter Jesica and son-in-law Brandon.

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