In Memoriam – Les Green, ACE


IN THIS ISSUE – 2nd
 Qtr, 2017
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
BACK ISSUES

LesGreen2Longtime ACE member Les Green, ACE, passed away on Sept. 29, 2016 – just four days after his 91st birthday. I did not know Les well, but he vetted me when I applied to ACE for membership. He was the one who went through and checked my credits. Writing this has been a chance to discover who this man was to whom I owe my membership. Les had a house in the Hollywood Hills where his friends and assistants would sometimes gather. His close friends were few, but they were bound tightly.
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He seemed unaffected by his celebrity in the craft he had chosen. His credits include the television series, The Mod Squad, McMillan & Wife, From Here to Eternity, George Washington, Around the World in 80 Days and Kane & Abel, as well as movies of the week like Inside the Third Reich, The Last Hurrah, The Night They Took Miss Beautiful, Pray for the Wildcats, Trilogy of Terror and The Astronaut. Our former ACE president, Michael Hoggan, ACE, told me that Les Green was his mentor. “Les was very meticulous in his work,” Hoggan says. “He would work long hours to get things just right.”
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Hoggan went on to describe that on the television series, Salvage 1, he got his directing break on the last episode of the season. He applied the same perfection to directing as he did to editing and was intent on getting the last shot just right. The producer, who was more interested in budget and finishing on time, raced in and screamed he was shutting down the shoot. Les had him ejected from the set and went back to the shot. This probably killed any chance for future directing, but it didn’t matter.
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Doing it right was more important to Les than becoming a director. Hoggan explained that on his first cuts Les never did his own splicing. He moved very quickly and put the shots together with paper clips like we did in the old days before tape splicing became the norm.
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The assistant would have to go through and remove the clips while splicing the picture and track on a hot splicer. His editing was so precise it rarely required shifting a cut. Glenn Garland, ACE, describes Les in this fashion: “Les Green was an amazing mentor to me, and I will never forget his kindness and generosity. After graduating from film school, I ended up editing a feature film. I was completely out of my depth, but the director knew this veteran film editor who came onto the film as an executive producer. That producer was Les. Les took me under his wing and graciously encouraged and advised me. He loved the craft and spent hours telling me fantastic stories and sharing his erudite thoughts on editing.
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After that film, I was lucky enough to work under his tutelage as his assistant on a miniseries. Watching him edit was amazing. He had such great instincts and edited by paperclip having me splice his edits together. He was that confident. He was also a wonderful person who inspired everyone around him. I am certain I would not be the editor I am today without his invaluable friendship.” In his passing we have lost a mentor, a friend and a man who truly loved the craft. He did much to elevate and preserve the work we love and his legacy lives on in editors like Glenn Garland and Michael Hoggan.

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Les is survived by his husband, Angel Aguirre-Benites, who Les met in 2002 and married in 2013. They lived in Napa since then. Les is also survived by his niece, Laurie Vilbrandt; and his nephew, Michael Williams. –Jack Tucker, ACE

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