The great Dede Allen passed away last weekend.One of the most innovative, accomplished and celebrated film editors ever to work in Hollywood, she was Oscar-nominated multiple times for work such as "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Dog Day Afternoon" among other masterpieces.
My one chance to work with Dede was on a film that was definitely NOT in the pantheon of her career, and wasn't even mentioned in many of the obituaries I read about her passing, but that has a soft spot in my heart nonetheless - the critical and box office dud "Let It Ride", which was commercial giant Joe Pytka's directorial debut starring Richard Dreyfuss and David Johansen, and was edited with saving grace by Ms. Allen.
As it is said, success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan, and by the time this dark comedy about an inveterate gambler's one blessed day at the track had been shot and edited and tested and recut and reshot and tested again and rejected by the audience, there were a lot of tears and celluloid on the floor.
But through it all, Dede Allen stood by the film and stood by the filmmakers, and was a lesson to me as a young studio executive with her creative and moral authority. She seems like one of those people who touched countless lives and left behind so much great work, and so many lessons to learn from along the way.
While she will rightly be remembered and lionized for the classic films and performances she helped to shape, I guess I will always remember her most for a film that didn't entirely work as anyone involved had hoped; but sometimes those are the ones you oddly feel most connected to.
Everyone can be graceful in success, but keeping your head straight and your vision clear when the chorus of powerful voices around any struggling production raises to a clamor is a real gift that only few have.
Thanks, Dede. I feel lucky to have known you.