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Sally Menke, longtime film editor for Quentin Tarantino, found dead near Griffith Park [Updated]

Director Quentin Tarantino's longtime film editor, who went hiking with her dog amid the extreme heat Monday, was discovered dead early Tuesday morning by searchers in Bronson Canyon, according to law-enforcement sources.

[Updated at 1:59 p.m.: An earlier version mistakenly said she was found in Beachwood Canyon.]

6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f4aac42c970b-500wi Award-winning film editor Sally Menke, 56, worked on such movies as "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill" and "Jackie Brown."

[Updated at 7:49 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly listed Menke's age as 53.]

Menke had gone hiking in the morning, and her friends alerted police after she failed to come home.

Search dogs, an LAPD helicopter and officers from patrol units spent hours in Griffith Park searching for her.

Her locked car was found in a Griffith Park parking lot. Menke's dog was found alive, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation was ongoing, said Menke's body was found at the bottom of a ravine near 5600 block of Green Oak Drive.

No cause of death was immediately reported, and it's unclear whether the heat was a factor.

[Updated at 8:42 a.m.: LAPD Lt. Bob Binder said Menke and a hiking buddy set out about 9 a.m. to hike a trail in Bronson Canyon, in the shadows of the Hollywood sign. An hour later, Menke's partner decided to turn back. Menke and her Labrador retriever continued on.

That was the last time she was reported seen. Friends and family contacted authorities about 4 p.m.

First on the scene were officers with the city's General Services Department, which patrols the park. Searchers with the LAPD Metro Division and Los Angeles Fire Department were called in around 6 p.m. Her family and friends aided in the search.

Menke's body was found just after 2 a.m. at the bottom of a ravine near the 5600 block of Green Oak Drive in Bronson Canyon.

Her dog was sitting next to her body, which was about a football field's length from nearby homes.

Ed Winter, assistant chief of the L.A. County coroner's office, said there did not appear to be a jump in deaths Monday because of the extreme heat.

Sources familiar with the death investigation believe Menke became disoriented and collapsed, and the weather conditions contributed to her death. Winter said the coroner's office is trying to determine whether the heat played a role in Menke's death.]

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photos: The scene at the end of Green Oak Drive, where the body of Sally Menke was placed in the coroner's truck. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times. Below left, Sally Menke Credit: WireImage

Comments () | Archives (93)

We're just one of the editorial crews over here at DWA that is shocked and saddened by the loss of fellow editor, Sally Menke. Her legacy will live on through the films she so beautifully cut. Thank you Sally for your commitment to the craft! Our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

very sad and touching. especially that she was so close to help and that her dog stayed with her.

It's sad that people can't comment on what happened without leaving hostile, holier than thou remarks. It's a terrible accident and a tragic loss for the film community.

Having known Sally & the family she will be missed.
This is a terrible tragedy that was unnecessary.

My family are neighbors to her husbands mother , and my mother made her wedding cake.
This family does not need any more losses , having lost their nephew over a year ago in another questionable accident.

Condolences to the entire Parisot/ Menke families.

S Burgess Wilton CT

My condolences to her family and friends and my love to her loyal dog.

Dear "me,"

No, "no cause of death" doesn't "usually mean shady business." It means they haven't determined if she hit her head, had a stroke, an aneurism ... any number of things that aren't immediately apparent. Sure looks like the heat is a strong possibility, but they shouldn't announce a cause until they actually know, and that takes a little time.

If they announced something right away and got it wrong, would you think that was shady, too? "Why the rush to judgement? What are they covering up?" Oy.

Conspiracies may be more fun, but they're harmful to rational living.


Sally was hiking in the morning, well before 113 degree temp. I'd withhold judgment about "hiking in the heat" until the facts are known.

We learned about Sally Menke while watching the Bonus Features from Inglorious Basterds. Loved how QT had the actors say "Hi" during filming that she would then have to edit out. Such a tragic loss, regardless of cause of death. Rest in Peace...

If you enjoyed the movie "Pulp Fiction" then you enjoyed Sally Menke's work.

This is just sad, sad news. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

in arizona, the illegal lovers put out drinking water for the invaders. why not in this park?

We lost one of our own today. May we learn from the gifts she left us, may her family heal with love from friends, and may her doggie go to heaven and join her when the time comes. To Quentin, family and friends, much love and joy through the tears. She will be missed.


Mad dogs, Englishmen and now film editors.

Need I say more?

in arizona, the illegal lovers put out drinking water for the invaders. why not in this park?

Posted by: kuruc | September 28, 2010 at 12:43 PM

wow, you managed to be a jerk twice! CONGRATS!

Who's "the hiking buddy"???

So sad. Maybe at the time she left for the hike she was in an air-conditioned environment, listening to music instead of weather reports -- so she didn't realize how hot it was going to be until she actually got out there. (All of us have probably, at some point, made underinformed choices that could have been fatal if things went wrong; we've just been lucky. So hold off on the judgments.)

54 is too young, but it seems she had a creative and fulfilling life. RIP.

Could've been suicide...


I dont think people should give this woman and her family such a hard time for hiking in the heat. She went at 9AM, which is hardly peak heat hours. It can still be vary dangerous, but it only would have been in the upper 70s or 80s at that time. People are so quick to judge, even those people who have suffered a tragic fate. Sigh.

The dog was her guardian.
May she rest in peace for eternity.

What's wrong with some of you? An extremely talented woman died. But that doesn't stop some of you from posting inane garbage. 'That's what you get,' posts are the telltale sign of the socially inept shut in. Have some compassion and try leaving your mother's basement to experience real human emotions for once.

That being said, this is a huge loss. I loved her work. Future Tarantino movies won't be the same.

So sad for her family. With two school age children, her loss will be felt for lifetimes. Her daughter was a classmate of my daughter; our hearts go out to the grieving people she left behind.

This post will include a widely absurd theory of what happened based only on evidence that my attention starved brain has concocted. Then I will wait for others to comment on this theory, as it will be the only way for me to feel smart this week.

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