Sally Menke, the film editor best known for her collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino, was found dead yesterday in Bronson Canyon, outside of Los Angeles, CA. Menke had disappeared while hiking Monday and the police had conducted a search of the Griffith Park area where her body was found. It is unknown if t he heat wave that the area was undergoing at the time contributed to her death. She was 56.
Menke collaborated on all of Tarantino’s feature films, from his debut Reservoir Dogs to last year’s Inglorious Basterds, and earned Academy Award nominations for her work on Pulp Fiction and Basterds. Perhaps more than anyone besides Tarantino himself, she was responsible for the look and feel of the director’s output. There is no way that her contribution to Pulp Fiction, with it’s non-linear narrative, can be understated. Menke always looked forward to her collaborations with Tarantino and would always check to see if he was about to begin production on a new film before taking on jobs with other directors. For his part, Tarantino has stated that he writes his films byhimself, “But when I edit, I’m writing with Sally.”
Outside of her work with Tarantino, Menke also edited such films as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Heaven & Earth and Mulholland Falls.
Below are two clips focusing on Menke and her collaboration with Tarantino. The first is a featurette from the Death Proof DVD that profiles Menke and what she does. The second is something more playful, a collection of “Hi Sallys,” greetings from actors and crew on the set for the editor to find while she was working on piecing the film together.