Peter Zinner: American film editor (1919-2007) (1919 - 2007) | Biography
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Peter Zinner
American film editor

Peter Zinner

Peter Zinner
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American film editor
Was Film producer Film editor Actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 24 July 1919, Vienna, Austria
Death 13 November 2007, Santa Monica, USA (aged 88 years)
Star sign Leo
The details (from wikipedia)


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. 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.

Early life

He was born in Vienna, Austria, and studied music there in the Theresianum 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.


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). 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." 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."

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.

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
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 17 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is Peter Zinner?
A: Peter Zinner (1920-2007) was an Austrian-born American film editor and director. He is best known for his work as the editor of the films "The Godfather" and "The Deer Hunter," both of which earned him Academy Awards.
Q: What films did Peter Zinner edit?
A: Peter Zinner edited numerous successful films throughout his career. His most notable works include "The Godfather," "The Deer Hunter," "The Godfather Part II," "Rain Man," and "The Jerk."
Q: Did Peter Zinner work with Francis Ford Coppola?
A: Yes, Peter Zinner collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola on several projects. He served as the editor for Coppola's films "The Godfather," "The Godfather Part II," and "Apocalypse Now." Their partnership resulted in critically acclaimed films and earned Zinner recognition in the film industry.
Q: What awards did Peter Zinner win?
A: Peter Zinner won multiple awards for his exceptional work as a film editor. He received Academy Awards for Best Film Editing for "The Godfather" in 1973 and "The Deer Hunter" in 1979. He also received a BAFTA Award for "The Deer Hunter" and an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for "The Godfather."
Q: Did Peter Zinner direct any films?
A: Yes, Peter Zinner directed a few films in addition to his work as an editor. He directed the films "Rooster" in 1982 and "Breaking Point" in 1989. Although his directing career was not as well-known as his editing work, Zinner displayed his talent and versatility in these projects.
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