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Stu Linder, at 74; film editor won Oscar

HOLLYWOOD -- Stu Linder, an Academy Award-winning film editor who worked almost exclusively for Barry Levinson since cutting the director's 1982 debut movie, ''Diner," has died. He was 74.

Mr. Linder died of a heart attack Jan. 12 while on location in Ridgefield, Conn., editing the Levinson film ''Man of the Year," said his wife, Cathy Fitzpatrick Linder.

''Personally and professionally, we had a great relationship -- it was just a perfect fit," Levinson said Wednesday. ''He shared a similar sensitivity. There was an inherent shorthand from 'Diner' on."

Together they crafted nearly 20 films that were rich in stylistic diversity and included ''The Natural" (1984), ''Sleepers" (1996), ''Wag the Dog" (1997), and ''Bandits" (2001).

When Mr. Linder received an Academy Award nomination for the Levinson-directed ''Rain Man" (1988), The Seattle Times called his editing ''a major contribution" that heightened the tension of key scenes. The film won for best picture and director.

Mr. Linder's Oscar, which he shared with three others, came for the first movie he worked on as a full-fledged editor, John Frankenheimer's race-car melodrama, ''Grand Prix" (1966).

''As a film editor, he always said, 'Leave the audience wanting a little more,' and he lived like that," said Mike Macdonald of his longtime friend.

''Once we were watching a film and I said, 'That was a well-edited sequence,' " Macdonald recalled. ''He said, 'If you noticed the editing, it wasn't well done.' "

In the 1970s, Mr. Linder became a leading yachtsman whose racing wins included the 1975 Trans-Pacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Stewart Bridgewater Linder was born in Geneva, Ill., and grew up in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

An avid surfer, he made balsa-wood surfboards and helped pioneer the Southern California beach culture. At the time, Mr. Linder counted legendary surfers Gregg Noll and Bing Copeland among his closest friends. In the 1950s, Mr. Linder designed the first surfboard logos for the commercial boards made by Noll and Copeland, according to Matt Warshaw, author of ''The Encyclopedia of Surfing."

As an assistant editor, Mr. Linder worked on John Frankenheimer's ''Seconds" (1966) in addition to the Mike Nichols films ''Catch-22" (1970) and ''Carnal Knowledge" (1971).

Among the other Levinson films Mr. Linder edited are ''Good Morning Vietnam" (1987), ''Tin Men" (1987), ''Avalon" (1990), ''Bugsy" (1991), and ''Disclosure" (1994). He also did ''Quiz Show" (1994) for Robert Redford.

Mr. Linder met his second wife, Cathy, a former HBO executive, at a 1971 yacht race in San Francisco, and they married a decade later. Other survivors include a son, Stewart; and a brother, Raymond. His first marriage ended in divorce.

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