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Thelma Schoonmaker Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (2)

Born in Algeria
Birth NameThelma Colbert Schoonmaker

Mini Bio (1)

Thelma Schoonmaker was born on January 3, 1940 in Algeria as Thelma Colbert Schoonmaker. She is an editor, known for The Departed (2006), Raging Bull (1980) and Hugo (2011). She was previously married to Michael Powell.

Spouse (1)

Michael Powell (19 May 1984 - 19 February 1990) ( his death)

Trivia (19)

Worked mainly as an editor for Martin Scorsese, who had tried for years to convince her to work for him. She was unable to work in Hollywood, however, because she couldn't get into the union. When Scorsese called to ask her to work on Raging Bull (1980), she again demurred because of lack of union membership. However, she believes that Al Pacino got her into the union. To this day, she does not know what influence was used to gain her union membership.
Martin Scorsese introduced her to her husband, Michael Powell.
Her father worked for an oil company, so she was born in Algeria, but grew up in Aruba. She did not live in the United States until her teens.
She met Martin Scorsese during a summer program at New York University, where she was taking an editing course. As she had some professional experience editing movies for late night television, she was brought in to help student director Scorsese with problems on his film.
Honorary doctor of the School of Motion Picture, Television and Production Design in Helsinki, Finland.
After war broke out in her birth country Algeria, she and her family moved to Aruba, where she lived until the age of 15.
Went to Cornell University where she majored in in political science and the Russian language.
Describes her marriage to Michael Powell as a "blissfully happy union".
Before getting into editing, she wanted to become a diplomat.
Besides being working partners, she and Martin Scorsese are also personal friends.
Has edited every single film of Martin Scorsese's since Raging Bull (1980). She also directed Scorsese's first film, I Call First (1967).
All of her editing credits--except two--for feature films and documentaries were for films that were directed by Martin Scorsese. She has won all three of her Oscars as well for editing Scorsese pictures. The exceptions are the music documentary Woodstock (1970) and feature Grace of My Heart (1996). She worked with Scorsese on both of these; he was an editor on "_Woodstock (1970)_qv)" and producer of "Grace of My Heart (1996)".
Stated on Turner Classic Movies that her name is pronounced "SKoonmaker" (not SHoonmaker).
2007 - Ranked #32 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
November 2007: Made an honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University.
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
As of 2018, she has edited seven Oscar Best Picture nominees: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Gangs of New York (2002). The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Hugo (2011) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), all of them directed by Martin Scorsese. The Departed is the only Best Picture winner.
Announced that she will be the special host screening three of her favorite films at the New-York Historical Society in Manhattan in January and February 2014: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), The Red Shoes (1948) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946). [September 2013]
When she won her first Best Film Editing Academy Award for Raging Bull (1980), the Oscar was presented to her by Jane Seymour and Richard Pryor (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles / March 31, 1981).

Personal Quotes (6)

I think the women have a particular ability to work with strong directors. They can collaborate. Maybe there's less of an ego battle.
I'm not a person who believes in the great difference between women and men as editors. But I do think that quality is key. We're very good at organizing and discipline and patience, and patience is 50 per cent of editing. You have to keep banging away at something until you get it to work. I think women are maybe better at that.
People expect artists to be too normal, I think. I've been around enough of them now to see that they're very extraordinary human beings who behave differently than ordinary human beings. If they weren't as sensitive as they are they wouldn't be great artists. They are not the same as us. People should just learn to accept that.
For me, Raging Bull (1980) is like my baby. It was my first major feature film. It is pure gold - beautifully directed, incredibly well acted, wonderful sound effects - that being my first break in feature film, making it is like my firstborn.
From MTV on, the speed of editing has increased, and that is now entering into narrative editing. People are not relying on good shots to tell the story, and I don't think you can sustain that kind of cutting for the full length of a film.
That is the one that has never gotten recognition. But I can't tell you how many people talk to me about that movie. There is a ripple that's going on. Bertrand Tavernier, the really wonderful French director, just wrote a review of it again. I have friends, when they have friends over for dinner, they make them watch it. It never got its due because it's about compassion. That's why. Everybody hated Casino (1995). They would say, 'It's not Goodfellas (1990). That's right. It's not. It's Las Vegas. It's not Goodfellas (1990). And now everybody loves Casino (1995). Now it's a big cult film. Raging Bull (1980) was a disaster and wasn't recognized for 10 years. The King of Comedy (1982) was a disaster, now everybody loves The King of Comedy (1982). This happened to so many of [Martin Scorsese] our films. But the one that's never, ever come back is Bringing Out the Dead (1999).

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