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Anne V. Coates

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Anne Voase Coates

(1925-12-12)12 December 1925
Died 8 May 2018(2018-05-08) (aged 92)
Other names Anne Coates
Anne Coates-Hickox
Occupation Film editor
Years active 1947–2015
Douglas Hickox
(m. 1958, divorced)
Children 3
Awards Academy Award for Best Film Editing
1963 Lawrence of Arabia
American Cinema Editors
1995 Career Achievement Award
Academy Honorary Award

Anne Voase Coates OBE (12 December 1925 – 8 May 2018) was a British film editor with a more than 60-year-long career. She was perhaps best known as the editor of David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, for which she won an Oscar. Coates was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia, Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993) and Out of Sight (1998). In an industry where women accounted for only 16 percent of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80 percent of the films had absolutely no women on their editing teams at all, Coates thrived as a top film editor. She was awarded BAFTA's highest honour, a BAFTA Fellowship, in February 2007 and was given an Academy Honorary Award, which are popularly known as a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, in November 2016 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Early life and education

Coates was born in Reigate, Surrey, England, the daughter of Kathleen Voase (née Rank) and Major Laurence Calvert Coates. Her first passion was horses. As a girl, she thought she might become a race-horse trainer.

Coates attended the Reigate village school called the Micklefield School. She then attended High Trees School in Horley (Surrey). She graduated from Bartrum Gables in Broadstairs (Kent).

Before becoming a film editor, she worked as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, England.


Coates became interested in cinema after seeing Wuthering Heights (1939) directed by William Wyler. She decided to pursue film directing and started working as an assistant at a production company specializing in religious films (also doing projectionist and sound recording work). There she fixed film prints of religious short films before sending them to various British church tours. This splicing work eventually led to the rare job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where she worked on various films. Her first experience was assisting for film editor Reggie Mills.

Coates later worked with film director David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. She had a long and varied career, and continued to edit films, including Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich (both for Steven Soderbergh). Coates was a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors (GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Variety's Eileen Kowalski noted "many of the editorial greats have been women: Margaret Booth, Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer."

Personal life

Coates was at the centre of a film industry family. Besides being the niece of J. Arthur Rank, she was married to the director Douglas Hickox for many years. Her brother, John Coates, was a producer (The Snowman and Yellow Submarine). Her sons, Anthony Hickox (b. 1959) and James Hickox (b. 1965) were film directors. Her daughter Emma E. Hickox (b. 1964) is a film editor.


Coates died on 8 May 2018, aged 92, at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.


  • "In a way, I've never looked at myself as a woman in the business. I've just looked at myself as an editor. I mean, I'm sure I've been turned down because I'm a woman, but then other times I've been used because they wanted a woman editor."
  • "...I guess I've been lucky that most of the time I've been in the same direction as the director. I try to work with directors whose work I like and find interesting. When I was younger, I had to find work where I could, and I had some not great experiences with directors."
  • "You have the courage of your convictions. When you're editing you have to make thousands of decisions every day and if you dither over them all the time, you'll never get anything done."
  • "I seem to get the rhythm from the performances. I like to feel I'm very much an actor's editor. I look very much to the performances and cut very much for performances rather than the action. I think that's important, what's in the eyes of the actor."

Selected filmography

  • 1947: The End of the River – second editor (uncredited)
  • 1949: The History of Mr. Polly – assistant editor (uncredited)
  • 1952: The Pickwick Papers
  • 1953: Grand National Night
  • 1954: Forbidden Cargo
  • 1955: To Paris with Love
  • 1956: Lost
  • 1957: The Truth About Women
  • 1958: The Horse's Mouth
  • 1960: Tunes of Glory
  • 1961: Don't Bother to Knock
  • 1962: Lawrence of Arabia
  • 1964: Becket
  • 1965: Young Cassidy
  • 1965: Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
  • 1966: Hotel Paradiso
  • 1968: Great Catherine
  • 1970: The Adventurers
  • 1971: Friends
  • 1972: Follow Me!
  • 1972: A War of Children
  • 1973: Bequest to the Nation
  • 1973: Catholics
  • 1974: 11 Harrowhouse
  • 1974: Murder on the Orient Express
  • 1975: Man Friday
  • 1976: Aces High
  • 1976: The Eagle Has Landed
  • 1978: The Legacy
  • 1980: The Elephant Man
  • 1981: The Bushido Blade – supervising editor with Yoshitami Kuroiwa
  • 1981: Ragtime
  • 1983: The Pirates of Penzance
  • 1984: Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
  • 1986: Lady Jane
  • 1986: Raw Deal
  • 1987: Masters of the Universe
  • 1989: Lawrence of Arabia – editorial consultant 1989 reconstruction and restoration of 1962 film
  • 1989: Farewell to the King
  • 1989: Listen to Me
  • 1990: I Love You to Death
  • 1991: What About Bob?
  • 1992: Chaplin
  • 1993: In the Line of Fire
  • 1994: Pontiac Moon
  • 1995: Congo
  • 1997: Out to Sea
  • 1998: Out of Sight
  • 2000: Erin Brockovich
  • 2000: Passion of Mind
  • 2001: Sweet November
  • 2002: Unfaithful
  • 2004: Taking Lives
  • 2006: Catch and Release
  • 2007: The Golden Compass
  • 2010: Extraordinary Measures
  • 2015: Fifty Shades of Grey

Academy Awards

Further information: Academy Award for Best Film Editing

BAFTA awards

Other honors

  • 1963: American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film (nominee) for Lawrence of Arabia
  • 1965: American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film (nominee) for Becket
  • 1994: American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film (nominee) for In the Line of Fire
  • 1995: American Cinema Editors, Career Achievement Award
  • 1997: Women in Film Crystal Award, International Award
  • 1998: American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film (nominee) for Out of Sight
  • 1999: Online Film Critics Society Award, Best Film Editing (nominee) for Out of Sight
  • 2012: Motion Picture Editors Guild, best edited films of all time for Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Out of Sight (1998)

See also

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