Tarantino film editor dies of heatstroke in LA

Sep 29, 2010
Rachel Helyer-Donaldson

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘number one collaborator’ Sally Menke worked on every single one of his movies

The Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino has lost the woman he once described as his "number one collaborator", after film editor Sally Menke apparently died from heatstroke while hiking in the Hollywood Hills. Menke, 56, had edited every Tarantino film from his first feature Reservoir Dogs in 1992 to last year's Inglourious Basterds.

Menke's work with Tarantino earned her two Oscar nominations - one for 1994's Pulp Fiction, the other at this year's Academy Awards for Inglourious Basterds. Her husband Dean Parisot said Menke was "truly proud of two things in her life above all - her family [and] her work".

Menke's body was discovered in the early hours of Tuesday in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. Her black Labrador retriever was standing near her body.

Los Angeles authorities believe record heat spells may have played a part in the death of Menke, who was an avid hiker but also suffered from seizures. On Tuesday temperatures reached a record high of 48C in some parts of the city.

Another Tarantino collaborator, producer Lawrence Bender, told the Los Angeles Times that Menke was "the closest to Quentin bar none" of everyone who has worked with Tarantino.

"Every movie, morning noon and night together, the two of them in that edit room. And he would go so far as to say, 'OK, well, I'm not going to shoot the movie until she's available.' If she wasn't available, he wouldn't shoot."

Menke had also worked on Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth, Lee Tamahori's Mulholland Falls, and Billy Bob Thornton's All the Pretty Horses.

In a 2009 interview with the Guardian Menke talked about the "rare, intense sort of relationship" she shared with Tarantino. "We've built up such trust that now he gives me the dailies and I put 'em together and there's little interference... If it ain't broke, you wouldn't want to fix it."

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