Film Editor Mike Hill, who worked on 22 Ron Howard movies in a row and won an Oscar for his work on Apollo 13, died on Thursday of a rare lung condition known as COP while at his home in Omaha, Nebraska, according to a family spokesperson. He was 73.
Hill and his editing partner, Daniel P. Hanley, first teamed with Howard on the 1982 comedy Night Shift, and their last collaboration was on 2015’s whale tale In the Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth.
The duo also earned Oscar nominations for editing A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon, in addition to cutting Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Backdraft (1991), Ransom (1996), and The Da Vinci Code (2006), to name just a half-dozen other films among their extensive credits. Additionally, they won a BAFTA Award for Howard’s 2013 racing drama Rush, also starring Hemsworth.
“Mike was a remarkable and dedicated collaborator on our 22 movies but an even more valued friend. He was a gifted and lauded film editor, but he was even prouder of his family and the life they built together in Omaha,” Howard said in a statement. “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 a pretty good corner jump shot as I recall from our three-on-three basketball days,” he added.
Hill was born in Omaha and grew up a star athlete, though he pivoted away from sports and into editing when he landed a job as an assistant editor at a local TV station, where he cut commercials into Elia Kazan movies like A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront. Just a few years later, he became an apprentice editor at Paramount when he was tasked with synch-screening dailies for Kazan on the director’s last film, 1976’s The Last Tycoon.
Hill’s survivors include his wife, LeAnne, his daughter Jesica, and his son-in-law, Brandon.