17 Facts About Thelma Schoonmaker


Thelma Schoonmaker is an American film editor, known for her over five decades of work with director Martin Scorsese.


Thelma Schoonmaker has received numerous accolades including three Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, as well as a Golden Lion in 2014 and the BAFTA Fellowship in 2019.


Thelma Schoonmaker has received eight Academy Award for Best Film Editing nominations, the most in Academy history alongside frequent Steven Spielberg collaborator Michael Kahn.


Thelma Schoonmaker started working with Scorsese on his debut feature film Who's That Knocking at My Door, and has edited all of Scorsese's films since Raging Bull.


In 1941, the family moved to the Dutch-Caribbean island of Aruba, where Thelma Schoonmaker's father continued to work for Standard Oil and her mother ran nursery schools.


Thelma Schoonmaker was primarily raised in Aruba, in a community she described as "a colony of expatriates from over the world"; she spent part of her childhood in Portugal.


Thelma Schoonmaker did not live in the United States until she was an adolescent in 1955, and was initially alienated and dumbfounded by American culture.


Thelma Schoonmaker was interested in a career in international diplomacy and began attending Cornell University in 1957, where she studied political science and the Russian language.


Politically inclined and opinionated, Thelma Schoonmaker was opposed to the Vietnam War and supported the Civil Rights Movement.


Thelma Schoonmaker passed the State Department exams but failed the final "stress test" when she expressed distaste for the South African policy of apartheid, a stance which did not sit well with those administering the tests.


Thelma Schoonmaker responded to the advertisement and got the job.


Thelma Schoonmaker edited Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door.


At NYU, Thelma Schoonmaker met filmmaker Michael Wadleigh and later edited his influential music festival documentary, Woodstock, on which Scorsese worked.


The union's entry requirements included spending five years as an apprentice and three as an assistant, which Thelma Schoonmaker was unwilling to meet.


Consequently, Thelma Schoonmaker did not work with Scorsese in a formal capacity in the 1970s; however, she did make an uncredited contribution to Taxi Driver.


Thelma Schoonmaker was introduced to Michael Powell by Scorsese and London-based film producer Frixos Constantine.


Since Powell's death, Thelma Schoonmaker has dedicated herself to preserving the films and honoring the legacy of her husband, who directed many classic films, including The Red Shoes.