In Memoriam – Henry Richardson, ACE

Henry William Richardson, ACE, died in London on July 31, 2017. We did not receive the news here at ACE until recently when we were contacted by his daughter, Gemma Apted. She describes her father as “a true gentleman. He spent his life ‘doing the right thing,’ no matter the cost. I believe he sacrificed his editing career to look after my mother, who continuously suffered from ill health. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.”

I was appreciative of Henry’s work long before I met him. As a boy, I was into monster movies. The Crawling Eye was a delight, as was The Valley of Gwangi and in Vietnam I sat on a back patio in the open air watching A Study in Terror with my comrades. It was a great respite from the war. Both films were edited by Richardson.

It was his later collaboration with Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky that created Runaway Train. Henry was nominated for both the Academy Award® and an ACE Eddie for that film. It was a grim, tough picture, with Jon Voight giving the performance of his life, based on an unproduced Akira Kurosawa script. Filmed under difficult conditions in Alaska, Richardson’s editing was as tough and uncompromising as the script.

Born in London’s East End in 1931, Richardson entered the film industry at the age of 18 and worked up to second assistant editor on Ken Annakin’s The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, executive produced by Walt Disney. The film was edited by Gordon Pilkington and Anne V. Coates, ACE, was the assembly editor. That was in 1952 and by 1955 he was the assembly editor on The Glass Tomb. The following year he was full editor on Passport to Treason.

Richardson went on to edit for filmmakers in the U.S. and England as well as across Europe. He added his artistry to such films as Ten Seconds to Hell for Robert Aldrich; Africa Texas Style for Ivan Tors; as well as two James Bond films, A View to a Kill and Octopussy for director John Glen. In addition, he edited such films as Mata Hari, Countess Dracula, The Thirteenth Floor, Where Eskimos Live and The Payback. Besides Runaway Train he did five other films in collaboration with the legendary Andrei Konchalovsky: Moscow Chill, The Lion in Winter (for television), The Inner Circle, Homer and Eddie and Duet for One.

He is survived by his daughter, Gemma, a cinema technology marketing consultant; his son, David, also a film editor; and his grandchildren, Rose and Justin. His legacy lives on in his children, but he will be sorely missed by his fellow editors and collaborators. –Jack Tucker, ACE