When Lynzee Klingman wanted to be an editor, she started looking for an apprenticeship in New York but couldn’t get her foot in the door.
“They would say, ‘You can’t carry a [film] can like a man, and we don’t want to have to watch our language around you. So no, no women.’ The other one was, ‘If we trained you, you would just get married and have a kid and leave.’ ” She finally landed a job, answering phones and cutting negatives. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t go to film school,” she says. “I learned by mistakes.”
Now, Klingman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hair) will join Sidney Wolinsky (The Shape of Water, The Sopranos) in receiving a career achievement award April 17 during the American Cinema Editors’ virtual Eddie Awards. When she was starting out, Klingman edited documentaries, including 1974’s Hearts and Minds, which won an Oscar. She then edited Cuckoo’s Nest with Richard Chew and Sheldon Kahn; the trio received an Oscar nomination.
Klingman also collaborated with Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Forman on Hair and Man on the Moon. “He liked to try things,” she recalls. “I learned that if you keep at it, you’re going to come up with something pretty great. Follow your instincts, it’s a process.” She also cut multiple films for Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate) and Danny DeVito (Hoffa).
Klingman says she’s “thrilled” to see more women in her field. In her early days, “there were women working, but I never met them. And then one day I was in an elevator with a big pile of cans going to the lab and there was a woman in there with cans, and we just sort of laughed.”
This story first appeared in the April 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.