Karen Schmeer dies at 39; film editor

Karen Schmeer, an award-winning film editor who worked on many of Errol Morris' documentaries, including "The Fog of War," was struck and killed by a getaway car speeding from a New York City drugstore robbery on Friday, police and her mother said. She was 39.

Schmeer was crossing Broadway at West 90th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when she was struck by a car driven by two suspects in the theft of over-the-counter medication from a drugstore a few blocks away, police said.

The driver of the car was arrested shortly after Friday's crash, and Schmeer was pronounced dead at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center. Her mother, Eleanor DuBois Schmeer, confirmed her death.

Schmeer won a best editing award last year at the Sundance Film Festival for "Sergio," about Sergio de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights killed in a 2003 explosion at U.N. headquarters in Iraq.

Schmeer edited Morris' Academy Award-winning documentary film, "The Fog of War," which profiled former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

"She was truly gifted as an editor," Morris told the Boston Globe. "There is no other way to describe it. I attribute the success of that film in good measure to her contribution."

She worked as editor on many of Morris' other films, including "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control" (1997) and "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr." (1999), and was editor for "Sketches of Frank Gehry," the 2005 documentary directed by Sydney Pollack. She was working on a film about chess master Bobby Fischer when she was killed.

Schmeer was born Feb. 20, 1970, in Portland, Ore. After graduating from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, she got a job as a researcher for Morris.