Legendary Editor Carol Littleton’s Contributions to Film and Labor Celebrated at Hollywood Event

Carol Littleton speaking at the ACE/MPEG celebration of her honorary Oscar, April 7, 2024, in Hollywood. PHOTO: Deverill Weekes.

By Guild Staff


Colleagues and fans paid tribute Sunday to legendary film editor Carol Littleton, ACE, who earlier this year became the third picture editor in history to receive an honorary Oscar. 

“Carol’s contribution and impact to our industry is immeasurable,” Editors Guild board member Steve Rivkin, ACE, told attendees at an afternoon celebration in Littleton’s honor at the Pickford Center in Hollywood.  

Littleton’s film credits include “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Body Heat” and “Places in the Heart,” and she also left a lasting imprint on Hollywood labor during her two terms as president of the Editors Guild. 

Rivkin said that he and his fellow governors in the editing wing of the Motion Picture Academy, Terilyn Shropshire and Nancy Richardson, felt that Littleton’s January Oscar should be feted by her colleagues, many of whom did not attend the Oscar ceremony. They “felt that this represented something significant that we needed to have a very special celebration for, to allow the editing community to share in the experience that so many of us were not able to attend — to relive the moment, so to speak,” Rivkin added. 

ACE and the Editors Guild cosponsored the Sunday event.

The stage at the ACE/MPEG event saluting Carol Littleton for her honorary Oscar, April 7, 2024 in Hollywood. PHOTO: Deverill Weekes.

As Guild president, Littleton was instrumental in opening up the roster to make it easier for up-and-coming editors to get into the union. 

“The union was a closed shop,” Littleton told the crowd. “There were no editors in the union who did not get there by nepotism.”

Alan Heim, ACE, the Guild’s current president, saluted this dramatic shift. Littleton “was instrumental in changing the culture of the union,” Heim said. “The opening up of the roster was a monumental change that contributed greatly in increasing the union workforce and it’s responsible for the strength of the union today.”

Mia Goldman, left, Carol Littleton and Dody Dorn at the MPEG/ACE celebration of Littleton’s honorary Oscar in Hollywood, April 7, 2024. PHOTO: Deverill Weekes.

At the January ceremony where Littleton received her Oscar, actress Glenn Close presented the award and said: “I am so incredibly honored to be here tonight to celebrate the great Carol Littleton. I think it’s safe to say that all of us are here because we have an abiding passion to create stories that will resonate in the human heart and soul, and will help us understand who we are, where we came from, where we’re going, and why we are feeling what we feel. And I think all of us would agree that films are ultimately created in the editing room.”

For her part, Littleton recounted her experiences moving to Hollywood from her native Oklahoma, where she never dreamed of working in film: “My aspiration was to be a cowboy,” she told the audience.

She also recounted her relationship with her late husband and sometime professional partner, the cinematographer John Bailey. “When we met, he made it very clear that he was not going to live in Oklahoma,” Littleton said.  “‘So, you better come to California if you’re going to be with me.'”

Carol Littleton, center, with attendees at the April 7, 2024 event honoring her special Oscar: Michael Tronick, left, Dody Dorn, Steve Rivkin, Mark Goldblatt, Littleton, Lynzee Klingman, Terilyn Shropshire, Nancy Richardson. PHOTO: Deverill Weekes.

She also paid tribute to the power of community in post-production, and bemoaned the trend toward remote work.

“It’s not good to work in isolation,” Littleton said. “So, I worry about what’s going to happen to our community and working remotely.”

Two other editors have received honorary Oscars: Margaret Booth in 1977 and Anne Coates in 2016.