Elmo Williams, the Academy Award-winning editor of the classic western High Noon who also worked as a producer, director, and studio executive died today in his Brookings, oregon home, it was reported by Curry Coastal Pilot. He was 102.
Born in 1913 in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, William’s long career in Hollywood began when he became the protege of Merrill G. White before branching out on his own as an editor. Among the films he edited were 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), The Vikings (1958), and Design for Death (1947). He is best remembered for his work on High Noon (1952), acclaimed to this day for ratcheting up the tension in the relatively action-free film, using clocks and other devices to note the passage of time as the town Marshall played by Gary Cooper awaits the arrival of killers bent on revenge. He won the Oscar for editing, and received another nomination two years later for his work on 20,000 Leagues.
Williams was also a producer, working on The Longest Day (1962), Cleopatra (1963), and Tora! Tora! Tora!, among others. He directed a small number of films as well, including The Tall Texan (1953). From 1971 to 1974, Williams was head of production at 20th Century Fox.
Williams was at the time of his death the oldest living Oscar-winner. He married his wife Lorraine Williams, who collaborated with him on the documentary The Cowboy (1954), in 1940. Remaining together until her death in 2004, they adopted three children. The couple retired to Brookings, Oregon in 1983 where Williams was active in the local community. His family will hold a private service for him, but has planned a public memorial event on December 12, scheduled, appropriately, at Noon.