Anne V. Coates

British film editor.

Anne Voase Coates OBE (1925 - 2018) was a British film editor with a more than 60-year-long career. She was perhaps best known as the editor of David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, for which she won an Oscar. Coates was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia, Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993), and Out of Sight (1998). In an industry where women accounted for only 16 percent of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80 percent of the films had absolutely no women on their editing teams at all, Coates thrived as a top film editor. She was awarded BAFTA's highest honor, a BAFTA Fellowship, in February 2007 and was given an Academy Honorary Award, which is popularly known as a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, in November 2016 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Coates was born in Reigate, Surrey, England, the daughter of Kathleen Voase (née Rank) and Major Laurence Calvert Coates. Her first passion was horses. As a girl, she thought she might become a race-horse trainer.

Coates attended the Reigate village school called the Micklefield School. She then attended High Trees School in Horley (Surrey). She graduated from Bartrum Gables in Broadstairs (Kent).

Before becoming a film editor, she worked as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, England.


Coates became interested in cinema after seeing Wuthering Heights (1939) directed by William Wyler. She decided to pursue film directing and started working as an assistant at a production company specializing in religious films (also doing projectionist and sound recording work). There she fixed film prints of religious short films before sending them to various British church tours. This splicing work eventually led to the rare job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where she worked on various films. Her first experience was assisting film editor Reggie Mills. Coates later worked with film director David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. She had a long and varied career, and continued to edit films, including Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich for Steven Soderbergh. Coates was a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors (GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Variety's Eileen Kowalski notes that "Indeed, many of the editorial greats have been women: Margaret Booth, Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates, and Dorothy Spencer."

Personal life

Coates was at the center of a film industry family. Besides being the niece of J. Arthur Rank, she was married to the director Douglas Hickox for many years. Her brother, John Coates, was a producer (The Snowman and Yellow Submarine), and her two sons, oldest Anthony Hickox (b. 1959) and youngest James D. R. Hickox (b. 1965) used to be directors, and her daughter Emma E. Hickox (b. 1964) is also a film editor.

Coates died on 8 May 2018, at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Anne V. Coates
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