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Bill Butler, Oscar-Nominated Film Editor, Dies at 83

Variety logo Variety 6/16/2017 Pat Saperstein
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Bill Butler, who was Oscar-nominated for editing for “A Clockwork Orange,” died June 4. He was 83.

Born in London, Butler was also editor on films including “A Touch of Class” and “A Little Sex.”

Butler and his family survived the Battle of Britain and he spent his childhood collecting rubble after bombings, including bits of 35mm film. His son Stephen recounted that he became fascinated with film frames after being given bits of celluloid by the guards at Gainsborough Studios in Islington.

He was already working in film editing when he spent two years in national service starting at the age of 18. After his service in Austria, he became working as assistant to sound editor Leslie Hodgson, working with notable editors such as Norman Savage, Ralph Kemplen, Ray Poulton, and Russell Lloyd.

His first Hollywood film as editor was Melvin Frank’s “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” (1968), followed by Jerry Lewis’s “One More Time” (1970) starring Sammy Davis, Jr.

He was introduced to Kubruck by “The Shining” editor Ray Lovejoy, and cut “A Clockwork Orange” in Kubrick’s garage. His son recounted that he worked alongside Kubrick 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for nearly a year.

After editing Melvin Frank’s “A Touch of Class,” he continued to work with Frank on “The Duchess and Dirtwater Fox” (1976), “Lost and Found” (1979), and “Walk Like a Man” (1987).

Butler also worked on the TV series “St. Elsewhere.”

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary, three children, four grandchildren, one great grandchild and his sister Jean.

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