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Thelma Schoonmaker Biography
Thelma Schoonmaker born as Thelma Colbert Schoonmaker is an Algerian-born American film editor who has worked with director Martin Scorsese for over fifty years. She started working with Scorsese on his debut feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967) and edited all of Scorsese’s films since Raging Bull (1980).
Schoonmaker has received seven Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing and has won three times—for Raging Bull (1980), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006).
Thelma Schoonmaker Age
Thelma was born on 8 January 1940 Algiers, Algeria, she is 80 years old.
Thelma Schoonmaker Height
She stands at a fair height and fair body weight.
Thelma Schoonmaker Husband
Thelma married a film director Michael Powell from 19 May 1984 until his death in 1990. The couple had no children.
Thelma Schoonmaker Career
She signed up for a brief six-week course in film-making at New York University, where she came into contact with young film-maker Martin Scorsese, who was struggling to complete his film ‘What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?‘ A negative cutter had butchered his film, not leaving enough negative frames to allow for hot splicing, so a film professor asked her to help Scorsese.
Schoonmaker edited Scorsese’s first feature film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967).At NYU., Schoonmaker also met film-maker Michael Wadleigh and later edited his influential music festival documentary, Woodstock on which Scorsese also worked.
Her first major film editing work on Woodstock gained Schoonmaker an Academy Award nomination for Best Editing. Her use of superimpositions and freeze frames brought the performances in the film to life, and added to the movie’s wide appeal, thus helping to raise the artistry and visibility of documentary film-making to a new level.
The early period of Schoonmaker’s career was difficult; joining the Motion Picture Editors Guild has always been challenging, with entry requirements included spending five years as an apprentice and three as an assistant.
Said Schoonmaker, “And I just couldn’t see why I, who had been a full editor and had been nominated for an Academy Award, should suddenly have to become an apprentice. And of course, they couldn’t see the sense of why I, who had never been in the union all those years and had never paid dues all those years and had never served my time in their sense, should be allowed as a full editor. So it was quite understandable on both sides. It was just insane.”
Consequently, there was a twelve-year gap between her work on Scorsese’s student films and her Oscar-winning work on Raging Bull. “I would have loved to work with Marty, but I wasn’t in the union….And then, finally, Marty called me about Raging Bull and the lawyers got me in the union.”
While Schoonmaker didn’t officially work with Scorsese until Raging Bull, she did make an uncredited contribution to Taxi Driver. Scorsese had decided not to edit the picture Taxi Driver during principal photography, but to save all the editing until shooting had wrapped.
Unfortunately, this left him very little time to cut the picture, as Columbia’s contract stipulated that a finished cut had to be supplied by the middle of February…among others, Scorsese brought in Schoonmaker to help. At one point, Steven Spielberg visited Scorsese and chipped in with some contributions towards the final edit.
- 2010Letters from Baghdad
- 2016Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
Thelma Schoonmaker Awards
- 1971 – Woodstock
- 1981 – Raging Bull
- 1991 – Goodfellas
- 2003 – Gangs of New York
- 2005 – The Aviator
- 2007 – The Departed
- 2012 – Hugo
Thelma Schoonmaker Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary by 2010 for this film editor was $74,200.
Thelma Schoonmaker Net Worth
Schoonmaker’s net worth is estimated to be around $4 million as of 2019.