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Oscar-Winning Disney Editor Arthur Schmidt Dead at 86

Arthur Schmidt Disney Dead

In the one hundred years since its creation, The Walt Disney Company has helped shape not only the theme park industry, but the film and television industry as well. Disney changed the game in 1937 when it released the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It set new standards again in 1988 when it released the combination live-action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The movie was unlike anything Disney had ever done, and was aimed at a more adult audience, with some very dark humor and adult jokes.

Dip, Roger Rabbit

Credit: Disney

Michael Eisner and Roy E. Disney were running the company at the time and thought that¬†Who Framed Roger Rabbit was too intense for kids and wanted some big edits made. However, the film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, had final cut approval, and he refused to back down. Instead of Disney releasing the movie under the Walt Disney Studios banner, they released it under the company’s Touchstone banner. The film received nearly universal praise, with critics and audiences alike loving the style and the story.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Credit: Disney

Sadly, we have learned that one of the major players behind the scenes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit has died. Arthur Schmidt was the editor of the movie and helped finalize Robert Zemeckis’ vision. Schmidt’s brother, Ron Schmidt, revealed to¬†The Hollywood Reporter that Arthur had died Saturday at his home in Santa Barbara, California, from unknown causes. He was 86 years old.

Arthur Schmidt Disney

Credit: Arthur Schmidt

Throughout his storied career, Schmidt worked on a number of memorable films, including¬†Forrest Gump, The Last of the Mohicans, The Birdcage,¬†and¬†Cast Away. He was also one of Zemeckis’ favorite editors, working on 10 films with the renowned director, including all three¬†Back to the Future¬†films.

Schmidt was also a beloved member of the Disney family, working not only on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but also on The Magical World of Disney, The Rocketeer, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Schmidt won an Oscar for his work on Roger Rabbit, which, at the time, was the most expensive animated movie ever made. The famed editor also said that merging the animation with live-action was the most complex work he ever did.

Johnny Depp Orlando Bloom Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Mr. Schmidt was born in 1937 in Los Angeles, where his father worked as a film editor. Schmidt thought that he would never want to be in that field, with even his father encouraging him to find another career path. He saw the small editing rooms his father spent hours in and didn’t want to experience that. That all changed when he saw the sets for movies he could be editing, but he still decided to become a teacher.

Arthur Schmidt Disney

Credit: IMDB

Mr. Schmidt’s father died in 1965 at the young age of 52. Shortly after the funeral, two Paramount employees reached out to him and offered him an apprenticeship. It was full steam ahead, and he never looked back.

In addition to his brother Ron, Arthur also leaves behind another brother, Greg, as well as four nieces and four nephews. He also leaves behind his loving wife Susan.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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