John Wright, Oscar-Nommed Film Editor of The Hunt for Red October and Speed, Dies at 79

Emmy-winning TV and film editor John Gordon Wright, who cut notable titles including “Speed,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “X-Men” and “The Passion of the Christ,” died April 20 at his home in Calabasas after a battle with cancer. He was 79.

Wright, who worked frequently with directors including John McTiernan and Mel Gibson, received an Emmy award for his work on “Sarah, Plain and Tall” as well Oscar nominations for his work on “The Hunt for Red October” and “Speed.”

More than 50 years ago, Wright began his prolific career as a film editor, first working at The James Company. In 1973, Wright contributed to the TV movie “Strange Creatures of the Night” and soon moved into feature editing. Soon after Wright edited for “Life Goes to War: Hollywood and the Home Front” and “Acapulco Gold.”

Following his work throughout the 1970s — including “Dogs,” “The Family Man,” “Sancutary of Fear” — Wright then worked 10 films throughout the 1980s, including “Frances,” “Mass Appeal,” “Only When I Laugh” and “The Running Man.”

In the 1990s, he moved into high-profile action fare, editing films including “The Hunt for Red October” and “Speed,” both of which garnered him Oscar-noms, “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “Broken Arrow,” “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Last Action Hero.”

By 2000, Wright lent his talents to “X-Men,” and then worked on “The Passion of the Christ,” “Glory Road,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Secretariat.” In 2014, Wright completed his final project, “Heaven is for Real.” He was a member of the Film Academy, the Television Academy and the American Cinema Editors. 

“Many film colleagues will remember John for his quiet encouraging nature, infectious laugh, great sense of humor, and his ever-present generosity of spirit. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of work which has and will continue to inspire the art of film editing,” editor Graeme Clifford, who worked with him on “Frances,” wrote in a statement.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jane, his daughter Amy, his son Cort, grandsons Edgar, Holden and Dash and son-in-law Whit.

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