Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert C Jones dies at 84

Washington: Robert C Jones, the acclaimed film editor who shaped classics such as ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ and ‘Love Story, has passed away. The artist, who won a screenplay Oscar for the war drama ‘Coming Home’, was 84 when he breathed his last.

The esteemed film editor died on February 1 at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with Lewy body dementia, reported The Hollywood Reporter. The late star’s daughter Leslie Jones, who is an Oscar-nominated film editor, confirmed the news of her father’s demise to the publication.

Leslie, in a statement, said, “My Dad had a tremendous impact on my own editing career with whom I worked on several films as his assistant.”

She added, “Like Bob, I did not go to film school and had no formal training in editing. But what I learned was that editing does not always require a specific skill set. He taught me that talent instead is guided by a sense of compassion, and integrity, and the search for truth and authenticity. He had all that and more.”

Born on March 30, 1936, Robert dropped out of college and went to work in the shipping room at 20th Century Fox. “I grabbed it without knowing what I was getting into,” he told Debra Kaufman in a 2014 interview for CineMontage magazine.

Eventually, he worked his way up to become a film editor and assistant film editor, working on films such as 1955’s ‘Untamed’ and the romantic drama ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ starring Paul Newman.

The artist’s father, Harmon Jones, was also an Oscar-nominated film editor, honoured for his work on Elia Kazan’s black-and-white movie ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’.

Throughout his career, Robert collaborated with acclaimed directors such as Hal Ashby, Arthur Hiller, and Warren Beatty. Early on in his career, the artist scored Academy Award nominations for his work on comedy film series ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World’ and the Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier-starring ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’.

He also shaped films such as 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’, 1975’s romantic comedy ‘Shampoo’ and 1976’s musical drama ‘Bound for Glory,’ which scored him his third Oscar editing nomination.

Apart from editing, he also penned several scripts. In 1978, he earned a best original screenplay Oscar for ‘Coming Home’, an award he shared with co-writers Waldo Salt and Nancy Dowd.

Robert also served as a co-screenwriter with novelist Jerzy Kosinski for the 1979 film ‘Being There’, which the late star’s daughter, Leslie, said her father practically rewrote. However, Robert was ultimately denied credit by the Writers Guild of America, after which he concentrated on his editing career.

The late star retired from the industry in 2001 and spent the next 15 years as a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In 2014, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the American Cinema Editors.

He is survived by his wife Sylvia, daughters Leslie and Hayley Sussman, sister Polly and grandchildren Sophia, Henry, Sammy, and Phoebe.

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