Sally Menke, a film editor who often worked with Quentin Tarantino, was found dead early Tuesday morning, September 28, near Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. Menke had apparently gone out hiking with her dog and a friend on Monday morning around 9:00 a.m. After about an hour, her friend decided to turn back, possibly because of the extreme heat that reached 113 degrees. Menke and her dog, a Labrador retriever, continued hiking.
No one saw Menke after that. When she failed to return home, friends and family decided to report her missing about 4:00 p.m. The General Services Department, in charge of patrolling the park, began the search. About 6:00 p.m., they called in the LAPD Metro Division and Los Angeles Fire Department to assist in the search along with family and friends. Searchers found her body about 2:00 a.m. at the bottom of a ravine in Bronson Canyon, with her dog, found alive, sitting next to her.
One theory explaining Menke’s death is that she became disoriented, collapsed, and fell victim to the extreme heat. So far, the cause of her death is still under investigation.
Menke, was born in Mineola, New York in 1953. In 1977, she graduated from New York University’s film program. Before working with Tarantino, Menke edited documentaries for CBS. In 1986, she married Aldo Luis Parisot, a director of film and television, and they had two children.
Menke edited Tarantino’s first film, “Reservoir Dogs”, in 1992 and all his other films since then. Those films include “Pulp Fiction”, “Jackie Brown”, “Kill Bill”, and “Inglourious Basterds”. In between Tarantino’s film projects, Menke worked on other films including “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” and “Heaven & Earth”. She received Academy Award nominations for “Inglourious Basterds” and “Pulp Fiction”.
Menke was a brilliant editor who helped make Tarantino’s films unique and revolutionary. She gave order to his chaotic genius. They formed an unparalleled collaborative team. Unfortunately, with Menke’s death that partnership has now ended.