Q3 2020

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Page 49 of 55

Picture editor Pembroke J. Herring received Oscar nominations for cutting films about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the life of folk singer Woody Guthrie, and the romantic trials of writer Karen Blix- en. But he will forever be remembered for accompanying Chevy Chase to Wally World and condemning Bill Murray to a succession of Groundhog Days. H e r r i n g, w h o d i e d M a y 1 9 a t t h e age of 90, was honored by his peers for co-editing his three Oscar-nominated f i l m s — " To r a ! To r a ! To r a ! " ( 1 9 7 0 ) , "Bound for Glory" (1976), and "Out of Africa" (1985)—but he won the hearts of moviegoers for injecting notes of warmth and humanity into such classic comedies as "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983) and "Groundhog Day" (1993), both di- rected by Harold Ramis. "It's the caring, compassionate, and heartfelt scenes that turn good comedies into great comedies," said his son, pic- ture editor Craig Herring, who worked on numerous projects with his father, known by friends as "Pem." on numerous pictures. "My dad had that special caring and compassion in him." Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Herring moved with his family to the Westwood area of Los Angeles at age 14. He found employment in the mail room of 20th Century Fox , where he informed his superiors of his interest in pursuing post-production. "In those days, every department was 'in-house' at Fox, so if you started in editing, you apprenticed a n d t h e n a s s i s t e d f o r a l m o s t a l l o f Fox's established head editors," Craig Herring said. After serving as an assistant editor to picture editor James E. Newcom, ACE, Herring was named co-editor, with Newcom and Shinya Inoue, of "Tora! Tora! Tora!," an ambitious, unwieldly production that aimed to present Pearl Harbor from the vantage points of both the United States and Japan. A f t e r c u t t i n g J o s e p h S a r g e n t 's made-for-television movie "Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring" (1971), Her- ring reteamed with the director for "Buck and the Preacher" (1972), starring Sidney Poitier—who, after taking over direction of the project from Sargent, bonded with Herring. Herring cut Poitier's subsequent directorial features, including "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) and "A Piece of the Action" (1977). Poitier and his editor "regularly had a tennis game before or during work hours and remained lifelong friends," Craig Herring said. The editor's involvement in the huge- ly successful "Vacation" comedies—he cut the first two in the series, "National L ampoon's Vacation" and "National Lampoon's European Vacation" (1985)— came on the heels of his work on the Chevy Chase-Goldie Hawn comedy-mystery "Foul Play" (1978). "Harold Ramis was amazed at Chevy Chase's performance in 'Foul Play,'" Craig Herring said. "Ramis asked around: 'Who's the editor?'" Yet another long-term partnership followed: For Ramis, Herring also cut "Groundhog Day," "Stuart Saves His Family" (1995), and "Multiplicity" (1996), which was his last feature credit. In between inspiring audiences to laugh, Herring was called in to work on the occasional drama, including, most notably, "Out of Africa," which required a team of editors to begin cutting anew following the dismissal of the original editor. Working with Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp, ACE, and Sheldon Kahn, ACE, Herring got the f ilm into shape in record time. "The task was to put the film back into dailies film form and start from scratch, but keeping the stu- dio's original schedule," Craig Herring said. "Four month's work was 'thrown out the window' and seven-day weeks for months ensued. Result: Academy Award for Best Picture." Herring is survived by his wife of 66 years, Barbara; their other children, Louise and Robert; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. — Peter Tonguette 50 C I N E M O N T A G E I N M E M O R I A M P H O T O : C O U R T E S Y N I C H O L A S E L I O P O U L O S PEMBROKE J. HERRING APRIL 15, 1930–MAY 19, 2020 Pembroke J. Herring (right) at the Moviola, surrounded by apprentice editor Maria Stinnett and assistant editor Tim Board, during the making of "9 to 5."

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