Robert C. Jones Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Coming Home’ Scribe Was 84

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Alexandra Del Rosario
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Robert C. Jones, an Oscar-winning writer and editor whose credits include It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Coming Home and Love Story, has died. He was 84.

“It is with deep sadness that I am writing to tell you the passing of Robert C. Jones, who was a celebrated editor and screenwriter, and a beloved professor at our School,” said Elizabeth Daley of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where Jones served as a professor for 15 years.

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Jones was born on March 30, 1936 in Los Angeles. His foray into film work began upon his drafting into the U.S. Army, when he joined the Army Pictorial Center from 1958 to 1960 as a film editor. At the Pictorial Center he edited Army training films, documentaries and several segments of the television program The Big Picture.

After his Army stint, Jones further developed his editing skills for A Child Is Waiting and It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World in 1963. Throughout the 60’s he continued to build up his editing resume with additional titles including The Tiger Makes Out, Paint Your Wagon and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

For the next decade he served as editor for Arthur Hiller’s Oscar-nominated Man of La Mancha, The Last Detail and Bound for Glory. In 1978, Jones tried his had screenwriting and penned the screenplay for Hal Ashby’s Coming Home.

The war drama follows a woman whose Vietnam War-deployed husband falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury. Starring Jane Fonda, Jon Voight and Bruce Dern, Coming Home took home three Oscar wins in 1979. Fonda won for best lead actress, Voight for best lead actor and Jones shared the best screenplay prize with Nancy Dowd and Waldo Salt.

Jones continued editing various films, including Crazy in Alabama and Twice in a Lifetime, until P.J. Hogan’s 2002 film Unconditional Love. Upon his retirement, Jones became a professor at SCA, where he taught students to edit and boosted their passion for filmmaking and storytelling.

“He engaged students in the School’s hallways, joking with them and literally being a source of joy,” Daley continued. “He wasn’t just a mentor to students, but also his colleagues on the faculty, and members of the staff. Without a doubt he was one of the School’s most loved professors.”

He is survived by his wife Sylvia and daughters Hayley Sussman and Leslie Jones.

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