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March 19, 2019

SCA Mourns Professor Norman Hollyn

Norman Hollyn, beloved professor in the Film & Television Production and Media Arts + Practice divisions, passed away unexpectedly from a coronary embolism and subsequent cardiac arrest while teaching a course at Tokyo University of the Arts in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday, March 17th (Monday, March 18th, in Japan). Hollyn was a celebrated film, television and music editor. His best-known credits were Heathers (1988), for which he was Film Editor, and Sophie’s Choice (1982) and The Cotton Club (1984), for which he was Music Editor. Other credits include assistant jobs on Bob Fosse’s Lenny (1974), Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976) and Milos Forman’s Hair (1979). He was also the film editor of It’s Pat: The Movie (1994), and on the 1993 ABC miniseries Wild Palms that was produced by Oliver Stone.

Hollyn, who began teaching at SCA in 1998, was a tenured professor who was the inaugural holder of the Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Editing at the School of Cinematic Arts. He was the author of The Film Editing Room Handbook, which was first published in 1986 and is considered an essential guide for practitioners. He was a thought leader in the field, particularly on issues around the coexistence of old and new media in the industry, which he wrote about in The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV and the Web (2009). For a while he wrote a blog at Called Hollynwood (Norman, that is): Thoughts on media, techonology, the film business and beyond, it showcased his deep knowledge of the industry, as well as his sense of humor (a headline: Why Hiring From The Bottom Is A Real Bonehead Move).

Hollyn specialized in curriculum design and created programs in emerging media at universities around the world. He frequently wrote articles about film production and was a regular speaker at conferences and conventions, including National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) and EditFest. He was a frequent international traveler who led workshops for universities and other education programs, as well as corporations and other private entities, empowering participants to tell powerful stories using moving image media.

(From left) Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Editor Michael Kahn
and Professor Norm Hollyn at the Endowment Ceremony for the Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Editing

Hollyn was a valued member of the Executive Board of the USC Academic Senate, and a member of the School of Cinematic Arts’ Council for Diversity & Inclusion. He was one of the most popular professors at SCA and current and former students flooded his Facebook page with remembrances following news of his death. “Norm was such an important member of our faculty for many years and his loss is devastating,” SCA Dean Elizabeth Daley said in a statement. “We will grieve with his family in the days ahead and find a time this Spring to join together to celebrate his life and his many contributions to all of us here at SCA.”

Hollyn, 66, was born on May 11, 1952 in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University in 1974 with a degree in theater arts.