PASSINGS: Neil Travis, Jack Ellena

Neil Travis

Film editor earned Oscar for 'Dances With Wolves'

Film editor Neil Travis, 75, who received an Academy Award for his work on the 1990 film "Dances With Wolves" and an Emmy for the 1977 miniseries "Roots," died March 28 at his home in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The cause was not disclosed.

His death was confirmed by United Talent Agency, which represented him.

When an early version of "Dances With Wolves" came in at more than five hours, Travis worked with director-producer-star Kevin Costner to slice two hours from the epic western. The film won seven Oscars, including best picture.

Travis received his first big career break when he was named an editor on the 1978 film "Jaws 2," he later said.

He went on to edit more than 25 films, including three adaptations of Tom Clancy novels, "Patriot Games" (1992), "Clear and Present Danger" (1994) and "The Sum of All Fears" (2002). He also served as an editor on "Stepmom" (1998), "Bicentennial Man" (1999) and "Along Came a Spider" (2001).

The son of a sound-effects editor, he was born Herbert Neil Travis in 1936 in Los Angeles. At UCLA, he studied advertising and theater arts, and earned a bachelor's degree. He began his career at Paramount Studios in film shipping and worked as an editor in television through most of the 1970s.

In 1997, the father of two moved to the coastal town of Arroyo Grande with his wife, Ruth, and served on the board of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

His final film credits were 2003's "Terminator 3" and the 2007 thriller "Premonition."

Jack Ellena

All-America football player at UCLA

Jack Ellena, 80, an All-America football player at UCLA who was a standout lineman on the Bruins' undefeated 1954 team, died March 23 in Palm Desert, his family said. The cause was not given.

Ellena went to UCLA from Northern California's Lassen County, where he was born Oct. 27, 1931, in Susanville.

He was a three-year letterman for the Bruin football team, playing both offensive and defensive tackle from 1952 through 1954 for Coach Henry R. "Red" Sanders. In Ellena's three years on the team, the Bruins had a 25-3 record, won the Pacific Coast Conference championship in 1953 and '54 and played in the Rose Bowl after the '53 season, losing to Michigan State, 28-20.

His senior season, 1954, is considered the best ever for UCLA football, which finished 9-0 and came out on top of the United Press coaches' poll. Ellena anchored the Bruins' defense, which was first in the nation in scoring defense, yielding only 4.4 points per game. He finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting, was a consensus selection for the Associated Press' All-American team and was named United Press college lineman of the year.

Because the Pacific Coast Conference had a "no-repeat" rule, the Bruins could not advance to the 1955 Rose Bowl to face Ohio State, which wound up with a 10-0 record and was voted the national champion by the Associated Press.

Ellena, 6 feet 1 and 225 pounds, also was a wrestler at UCLA, winning the conference heavyweight title in 1953 and '54. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education.

He was drafted by the then-Los Angeles Rams and played two seasons in the NFL as a lineman and linebacker.

After his football career ended, Ellena and his wife, Jacquie, founded a children's summer camp at Mountain Meadow Ranch near Susanville.

—Los Angeles Times staff reports

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