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Peter Zinner
Born(1919-07-24)July 24, 1919
DiedNovember 13, 2007(2007-11-13) (aged 88)
OccupationFilm editor
Years active1962-2006
Christa Zinner
(m. 1959)

Peter Zinner (July 24, 1919 – November 13, 2007) was an Austrian-born American filmmaker who worked as a film editor, sound editor, and producer. Following nearly fifteen years of uncredited work as an assistant sound editor, Zinner received credits on more than fifty films from 1959 - 2006.[1] His most influential films are likely The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, both of which appear on a 2012 listing of the 75 best edited films of all time compiled by the Motion Picture Editors Guild.[2]

Early life

He was born in Vienna, Austria, and studied music there in the Theresianum[3][4] and at the Max Reinhardt Seminar. Following the occupation of Austria by Germany in 1938, Zinner and his parents, who were Jewish, emigrated. They went first to the Philippines, and in 1940 to the United States. As a young man, Zinner worked in Los Angeles as a taxi driver and occasionally as a pianist at screenings of silent films.[5]


In 1943 Zinner became an apprentice film editor at the 20th Century Fox Studios. In 1947 he became an assistant sound-effects editor at Universal Studios. Much of his work as an assistant sound and music editor is uncredited; he worked with composers Miklós Rózsa, Jacques Ibert, André Previn, Adolph Deutsch, and Bernard Herrmann on films including Quo Vadis (1951), Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Gigi (1958), and Gene Kelly's experimental Invitation to the Dance (1956).[5] His first credit as a music editor was for For the First Time (1959); his other credits for music include X-15 (1961), the US version of King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), and Lord Jim (1965).

Zinner had wanted to move into film editing, and following his music-editing work with producer-director Richard Brooks on Lord Jim, Brooks asked Zinner to edit The Professionals (1967) and In Cold Blood (1967). His work on The Professionals was nominated for an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award. By 1970 Zinner had become sufficiently established as an editor that, Zinner was asked to edit the latter half of The Godfather; William H. Reynolds edited the first half. The film, which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, has been very successful with critics and at the box-office. One of its sequences has become an icon of film editing. As critic Tony Sloman described it in 2007, "As the newly born child of Michael Corleone is christened, the young Don Michael, heir to the murdered Don Vito Corleone, wreaks his revenge on his enemies, eliminating them to the soundtrack of the priest's baby-blessing and the church's organ music. It is unquestionably one of the most dramatically satisfying and audience-shattering sequences in contemporary cinema, a magnificent example of the art of motion-picture editing, the craft of story-telling by montage. The editor of the sequence was Peter Zinner."[5] Director Frank Pierson said, "...That's the kind of thing that he was brilliant at, and it's become a classic sequence in movie history."[6]

Zinner was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing three times for his work on The Godfather (1972), The Deer Hunter (directed by Michael Cimino-1978), and An Officer and a Gentleman {directed by Taylor Hackford-1982}. He won the Oscar, a BAFTA, and an Eddie for The Deer Hunter. His work (with Barry Malkin and Richard Marks) on The Godfather Part II (1974) earned a second BAFTA nomination. Zinner was nominated four times for Emmy Awards, and won for the miniseries War and Remembrance (1988) and for Citizen Cohn (1992). His peers in the American Cinema Editors honored him with six Eddie nominations of which he won four.

His many other film editing credits include Blake Edwards' Gunn, Foolin' Around, Darling Lili, Dirty Pictures, Crazy Joe, Mahogany, A Star is Born (with Barbra Streisand) and Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture.

In 1990 he played the role of an admiral in the film The Hunt for Red October. Zinner also produced four films. He directed The Salamander (1981) with Anthony Quinn.

Personal life

Zinner had married his wife Christa, a German-born photographer and artist, in 1959. Their daughter, Katina Zinner, is also a film editor as well as an artist. Zinner died on November 13, 2007, aged 88, in Santa Monica, California, from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His funeral was held on January 5, 2008.[7][8]



Year Title Editor Producer Other Director Notes
1959 For the First Time No No Yes Rudolph Maté Music editor
1961 The Deadly Companions No No Yes Sam Peckinpah Music editor
Edited by Stanley Rabjohn
X-15 No No Yes Richard Donner
1962 Varan the Unbelievable Yes No No Ishirō Honda American dub version only
King Kong vs. Godzilla Yes No No American dub version only
1963 They Saved Hitler's Brain No No Yes David Bradley Music supervisor
1964 The Naked Kiss No No Yes Samuel Fuller Music editor
1965 Lord Jim No No Yes Richard Brooks Music editor
Deathwatch No No Yes Vic Morrow Music editor
1966 The Professionals Yes No No Richard Brooks Nominated- ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film
1967 Gunn Yes No No Blake Edwards
In Cold Blood Yes No No Richard Brooks
1969 Changes Yes No No Hall Bartlett
The Red Tent Yes Yes No Mikhail Kalatozov Co-editor with John Shirley
1970 Darling Lili Yes No No Blake Edwards
1972 The Godfather Yes No No Francis Ford Coppola Co-editor with William H. Reynolds

Nominated- Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Nominated- ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film

1973 Chino Yes No No John Sturges Co-editor with Luis Álvarez & Vanio Amici
1974 Crazy Joe Yes Yes No Carlo Lizzani
The Godfather Part II Yes No No Francis Ford Coppola Co-editor with Barry Malkin & Richard Marks

Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Editing

1975 Mahogany Yes No No Berry Gordy
1976 Foxtrot Yes No No Arturo Ripstein
A Star Is Born Yes No No Frank Pierson
1978 The Deer Hunter Yes No No Michael Cimino Academy Award for Best Film Editing
BAFTA Award for Best Editing
ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film
1979 The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh Yes No No Gilbert Moses Co-editor with Frank Mazzola
1980 Foolin' Around Yes No No Richard T. Heffron
1981 The Salamander No No Yes Himself As director
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Yes No No Taylor Hackford Nominated- Academy Award for Best Film Editing
1983 Running Brave Yes No No Donald Shebib
1985 War and Love Yes No No Moshé Mizrahi
1986 Saving Grace Yes No No Robert M. Young
1990 The Hunt for Red October No No Yes John McTiernan Actor; as Admiral Yuri Padorin
Eternity Yes No No Steven Paul Co-editor with Michael J. Sheridan
1991 Ted & Venus Yes No No Bud Cort Co-editor with Katina Zinner
1992 Gladiator Yes No No Rowdy Herrington Co-editor with Harry B. Miller III
1997 A Gun, a Car, a Blonde Yes Yes No Stefani Ames
Motel Blue Yes No No Sam Firstenberg Co-editor with Phil Russman
1999 The Omega Code Yes No No Rob Marcearelli Co-editor with Katina Zinner
2006 Running with Arnold Yes No No Dan Cox Documentary film
Co-editor with Rick Benavides & Katina Zinner


Year Title Editor Producer Other Director Notes
1960-61 The Brothers Brannagan No No Yes Paul Landres Music editor/supervisor
4 episodes
1961 Miami Undercover No No Yes Howard W. Koch Music editor/supervisor
38 episodes
1983 The Winds of War Yes No No Dan Curtis Miniseries
Co-editor with Bernard Gribble, John F. Burnett & Jack Tucker

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie

1988-89 War and Remembrance Yes No No Miniseries
Co-editor with John F. Burnett

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie
ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Television Mini-Series

1987 Broken Vows Yes Yes No Jud Taylor Television film
1990 Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture Yes No No Frank Pierson
1992 Citizen Cohn Yes No No Frank Pierson Television film

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie
ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Television Special
Nominated- CableACE Award for Best Editing in a Dramatic Special

1994 The Enemy Within Yes No No Jonathan Darby Television film
2000 American Tragedy Yes No No Lawrence Schiller
Dirty Pictures Yes No No Frank Pierson Television film
ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Motion Picture for Non-Commercial Television
2001 Conspiracy Yes Yes No Television film

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie
Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie

2002 10,000 Black Men Named George Yes No No Robert Townsend Television film
Co-editor with Katina Zinner

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result
1967 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film The Professionals Nominated
1972 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film The Godfather Nominated
1973 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Film Editing Nominated
1974 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Editing The Godfather Part II Nominated
1978 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film The Deer Hunter Won
1979 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Editing Won
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Film Editing Won
1983 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Film Editing An Officer and a Gentleman Nominated
1984 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie War and Remembrance Won
1989 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Television Mini-Series Won
1990 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Won
1992 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Television Special Citizen Cohn Won
1993 CableACE Awards Best Editing in a Dramatic Special Nominated
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Won
2000 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Motion Picture for Non-Commercial Television Dirty Pictures Won
2002 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Outstanding Television Movie Conspiracy Nominated
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Outstanding Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Nominated


  1. ^ Peter Zinner on IMDb
  2. ^ The Godfather was listed sixth, and The Godfather: Part II was listed twenty-second. See "The 75 Best Edited Films". Editors Guild Magazine. 1 (3). May 2012. Archived from the original on 2015-03-17.
  3. ^ At this time in the 1930s, the Therasianum was one of the finest Gymnasien in Vienna; see Hülsmann, Jörg Guido (2007). Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism (PDF). Ludwig van Mises Institut. p. 36. ISBN 9781933550183.
  4. ^ Zinner received his degree in 1937 (his Maturajahr); see "Mitteilungen der Vereinigung ehemaliger Theresianisten" (PDF). October 2008. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07.
  5. ^ a b c Sloman, Tony (November 17, 2007). "Obituary: Peter Zinner, Oscar-winning film editor". The Independent. Retrieved July 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Mclellan, Dennis (November 16, 2007). "Peter Zinner, 88; film editor won Oscar for 'The Deer Hunter'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008.
  7. ^ "Peter Zinner, 88, Oscar-Winning Film Editor, Is Dead". The New York Times. November 19, 2007.
  8. ^ "Christa Zinner - Biography". Retrieved 2016-01-24.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 November 2020, at 14:34
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