Verna Fields

Verna Fields (née Hellman, 21 March 1918 – 30 November 1982) was an American film editor, film and television sound editor, educator, and entertainment industry executive. In the first phase of her career, from 1954 through to about 1970, Fields mostly worked on smaller projects that gained little recognition. She was the sound editor for several television shows in the 1950s. She worked on independent films (including The Savage Eye (1959)), on the government-supported documentaries of the 1960s, and on some minor studio films such as Peter Bogdanovich's first film, Targets (1968). For several years in the late 1960s, she was a film instructor at the University of Southern California. Her one major studio film, El Cid, led to her only industry recognition in this phase of her career, which was the 1962 Golden Reel award for sound editing.

Fields came into prominence as a film editor and industry executive during the 'New Hollywood' era (1968–1982). She had established close ties with the directors Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg early in their careers, and became known as their "mother cutter"; the term "cutter" is an informal variation of "film editor". The critical and commercial success of the films What's up, Doc? (1972), American Graffiti (1973), and Jaws (1975) brought Fields a level of recognition that appears to be unique among film editors. Jaws in particular was enormously and unexpectedly profitable, and ushered in the era of the "summer blockbuster" film. Fields' contributions to this success were widely acknowledged. She received an Academy Award and an American Cinema Editors Award for best editing for the film. Within a year of the film's release, she had been appointed as Vice-President for Feature Production at Universal Studios. She was thus among the first women to enter upper-level management in the entertainment industry. Her career as an executive at Universal continued until her death in 1982 at age 64.

Read more about Verna Fields:  Early Life, Education, and Training, Career in Sound Editing, Film Editing and Teaching, George Lucas and American Graffiti, Steven Spielberg and Jaws, Management For Universal Studios, Final Cuts, Selected Filmography (editor)

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