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Oscar-Nominated Film Editor Robert Dalva Died From Lymphoma At The Age of 80

Robert Dalva was a beloved actor, producer, and director who had a long and successful career in Hollywood. His death in 2020 left many fans around the world shocked and saddened. People have been curious to learn how Robert Dalva passed away, yet the details of his death remain largely unknown. In this article, we will explore the life of Robert Dalva and the circumstances surrounding his untimely demise.

About Robert Dalva


robert dalva

Robert Dalva (April 14, 1942 – January 27, 2023) was a film editor from the United States. The editor’s filmography includes the Black Stallion, Raising Cain, Jumanji, Jurassic Park III and Hidalgo, October Sky, and The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. He also directed The Return of the Black Stallion (1983). The Black Stallion was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing by Dalva (1979). He is a Colgate University graduate and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity member.

Dalva has been inducted into the American Cinema Editors and is a member of The Dirty Dozen, a core group of successful filmmakers who were cinema students at the University of Southern California in the 1960s. He found a job with future Academy Award-winning film editor Verna Fields (Jaws) at the U.S. Information Agency. He later edited Agnès Varda’s 1969 film Lions Love on a flatbed editing machine.

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Robert Dalva, Iconic Film Editor, Passes Away at 80

Robert Dalva, the film editor nominated for an Oscar for his work on the heartwarming family adventure The Black Stallion and collaborated on five films with director Joe Johnston, including Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger, has passed away at the age of 80.

According to his son Matthew Dalva’s report in The Hollywood Reporter, Dalva died on January 27 in Marin County, California, of lymphoma.

Robert Dalva’s Remarkable Career and Oscar-Nominated Editing Serve as His Legacies

robert dalva

Dalva attended USC’s film school in the same class as George Lucas, and in 1969 he joined Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola in launching their groundbreaking production business American Zoetrope in San Francisco. The bond paid off when Lucas engaged Dalva to conduct second-unit photography on the original Star Wars film; he shot the land speeder crossing the desert (1977).

On the Coppola-produced, Oscar-nominated 1979 film Black Stallion starring Mickey Rooney, Dalva collaborated with director Carroll Ballard, who also worked on the Star Wars second unit. Dalva said in a 2012 interview,

“We had almost a million feet of film. A two-hour movie is about 12,000 feet. And the island section of the movie, about 37 minutes of the film, represented three-quarters of that million feet. So, the big battle was getting the island section down to a manageable length that made sense.”

Later, Dalva recalled, he was walking down the street near Zoetrope when “Francis pulled up in a taxicab and got out.” And he said, ‘Robert if there’s a sequel to Black Stallion, you want to direct it?’ And I said, ‘Sure, Francis.'” The Black Stallion Returns (1983), filmed in Italy and Morocco, was the sole feature film directed by Dalva. He directed television episodes of Crime Story and Lucas’ Clone Wars.

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robert dalva

In addition to Jumanji (1995) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Dalva edited October Sky (1999), Jurassic Park III (2001), and Hidalgo, all of which was directed by Joe Johnston (2004). Johnston, by coincidence, also worked on Star Wars as a representative for ILM’s miniature and optical effects team. That realization only occurred decades later.

Haskell Wexler’s Latino (1985), Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain (1992), Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club (1993), The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005), Touching Home (2008), Immortals (2011), Lovelace (2014), Sweetwater (2015), and Heist were among the films edited by Dalva (2015).

Dalva was also the cinematographer for the fourth and fifth seasons of the 1999-2000 CBS crime drama Nash Bridges. In 2017, he began teaching part-time at the San Francisco Film School and later edited the films San Francisco Stories (2021) and Evolution of Organic (2018). An earthquake shook Candlestick Park during Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, which he attended with his daughter Cory. He was an avid supporter of the San Francisco Giants.

In addition to Matthew and Cory, he is survived by his 1964 married wife, Marcia. His son Marshall, his daughter Jessica, his grandchildren Nathan, Zach, Luellen, and Calvin, and his brother Leon.

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Fans Pay Tribute To The Legendary Fim Editor

The entertainment industry is mourning as news broke that beloved film editor, Robert Dalva, has passed away. The cause of death is still unknown. However, it has been confirmed by his agent and close family members.  Robert Dalva was well-known for his work on several Hollywood films such as ‘The Black Stallion’ (1979), ‘Hidalgo’ (2004), and the Academy Award-winning ‘Reds’ (1981). He was also behind the editing table for many other major projects throughout his stellar career.

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Fans worldwide have taken to social media to express their grief over the death of this legendary figure. Many tributes have been made in honor of Robert Dalva, and many share heartfelt stories about what he meant to them, personally and professionally.

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