Hugh A. Robertson; Black Film Editor

Hugh A. Robertson, who was one of the first black film editors in the industry and overcame the prejudice of his time to receive an Academy Award nomination for his work on "Midnight Cowboy," is dead.

He was 55 when he died Jan. 10 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles, it was learned this week.

Robertson parlayed his editing skills into fulfilling a lifelong dream of directing. When he was asked to re-edit the troubled film "Georgia, Georgia" he agreed but only if the company financing the picture agreed to let him direct a future production.

The result was "Honey Baby."

He made a similar request of Metro-Goldywn-Mayer when asked to edit "Shaft" and was rewarded with director's credit on "Melinda."

Robertson first applied for membership in the Motion Picture Film Editors Union in 1949 but was not accepted until 1960, a delay he attributed to race.

"The old (union) regime finally got voted out and I got in," he told The Times in a 1972 interview.

He helped edit "Twelve Angry Men," "The Fugitive," "The Miracle Worker" and "Lilith" before his breakthrough on "Midnight Cowboy."

Robertson, who is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and two children, was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1982 and was honored by the Los Angeles Black Media Coalition in 1987.

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