Richard Chew

Richard Franklin Chew (born June 28, 1940) is an American film editor, producer, and cinematographer, best known for his Academy Award-winning work on Star Wars (1977),[1] alongside Paul Hirsch and Marcia Lucas. Other notable films include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Risky Business (1983), Waiting to Exhale (1995), That Thing You Do! (1996), and I Am Sam (2001). His career as an editor and cinematographer of a variety of films spans more than four decades.

Richard Chew
Photo by Gregory Schwartz, courtesy of Editors Guild Magazine
Richard Franklin Chew

(1940-06-28) June 28, 1940
OccupationFilm editor
Years active1967present
Spouse(s)Liv Torgerson
AwardsBest Film Editing
1977 Star Wars
Saturn Award for Outstanding Editing
1977 Star Wars

Early life and career

Born of Chinese immigrant parents in Los Angeles, Chew attended its inner-city schools, served in the U.S. Navy, and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Philosophy. After a stint at Harvard Law School, Chew, inspired by the independent cinema of the 1960s, left school to pursue a film career.[2]

Starting with his camera and editing work on documentaries, such as The Redwoods, an Oscar winner for Best Short Documentary in 1967, he eventually transitioned to editing feature films as co-editor on Francis Coppola's The Conversation, Miloš Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and George Lucas's Star Wars.

During his varied career, he has edited films for actor-directors such as Jack Nicholson, Tom Hanks, and Forest Whitaker. Other writer-directors with whom Chew has worked include: Cameron Crowe, Paul Brickman, Bruce Joel Rubin, and Emilio Estevez.[2]

Chew was Oscar-nominated for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He also won British Oscars (BAFTA) as co-editor on both The Conversation and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His work on Shanghai Noon was nominated for Best Feature Comedy by American Cinema Editors.[3]

At various times throughout his editing career, Chew has taught and lectured with the goal of enhancing audience appreciation for the cinema arts. For over thirty years, he has appeared at art schools and colleges, churches, and community groups.

On January 27, 2011, he was honored at the Detroit Institute of Arts with “An Evening with Richard Chew,” a program featuring clips of some of his extensive work plus an interview conducted by DIA film curator Elliot Wilhelm.[4] Additionally, Chew was named Allessee Visiting Professor of Media at Wayne State University for the 2011 Spring semester.[5] In September 2013, Chew was selected as a Duncan Littlefair Great Speaker in the Creation Talks Series (, joining the ranks of renowned speakers from the worlds of politics and arts. He spoke about the power of music in film at the legendary Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. . In November, 2016, Chew received the Third Annual Andrew V. McLaglen Lifetime Achievement Award from Friday Harbor Film Festival (Washington).

He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Motion Picture Editors Guild, and American Cinema Editors.

Selected filmography

Year Film Notes
1967The RedwoodsAcademy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject)
1974The ConversationBAFTA Film Award - Best Film Editing
1975One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestBAFTA Film Award - Best Film Editing
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Nominated - Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film
1977Star WarsAcademy Award for Best Film Editing
Saturn Award for Outstanding Editing
Nominated - BAFTA Film Award for Best Film Editing
Nominated - Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film
1978Goin' South
1979When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?
1982My Favorite Year
1983Risky Business
Real Genius
1986Where the River Runs Black
1987Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
1988Clean and Sober
1990Men Don't Leave
1991Late for Dinner
1993Mi Vida Loca
My Life
1995Waiting to Exhale
1996That Thing You Do!
1998Hope Floats
2000Shanghai NoonNominated - Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film - Comedy or Musical
2001I Am Sam
2004First Daughter
2005The New World
2010The Runaways
The Way
2018The Public


  1. King, Susan (April 20, 2007). "Long ago and far away: `Star Wars' vets reminisce". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  2. Kunkes, Michael. "Cutting with a Conscience: Richard Chew is an Ambassador for the Under-represented". Editors Guild Magazine. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  3. "Awards for Shangai Noon (2000)". IMDB. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  4. "Film Editing, The Invisible Art: An Evening With Richard Chew". Detroit Institute of Arts. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  5. "News and Announcements: Richard Chew presents four DFT Double Features in June". Wayne State University CFPCA. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
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