Distinguished film editor and Miami native Carol Littleton will be honored with a film festival and induction onto the Coleman Theatre Celebrity Park Wall of Fame during a two-day celebration June 2-3.
MIAMI, Okla. – Carol Littleton has spent more than four decades building a career that would see her become one of the top film editors in the business, work with the top directors in motion pictures and be nominated for some of the industry’s top awards.
Not bad for an introverted girl who grew up in rural Oklahoma and never dreamed of becoming a film editor.
“No! Never,” Littleton said. “I never said, ‘I want to be a film editor when I grow up.’”
Littleton will be inducted onto the Coleman Theatre Celebrity Park Wall of Fame during a special ceremony Saturday, June 3, part of a weekend of events honoring the Miami native’s distinguished career.
Events will begin Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. with a special showing of the 1984 film “Places In The Heart,” written and directed by Robert Benton. Littleton was the film editor on the project which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning two – Best Actress in a Leading Role by Sally Field and Best Original Screenplay by Benton.
Activities resume at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 3, with the showing of the 1982 film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” directed by Stephen Spielberg. The film was nominated for nine – winning four -- Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Film Editing for Littleton.
The induction ceremony will begin in the theatre at 3:30 p.m. with the official unveiling on Littleton’s plaque that will hang in Celebrity Park. A question and answer session with Littleton will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the theatre, followed by a special reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Celebrity Park and the lobby of the Coleman Ballroom.
Activities conclude with the showing of the 2015 film “A Walk In The Woods,” directed by Ken Kwapis and co-edited by Littleton and Julie Garces. The film was nominated for the Georgia Film Critics Association’s Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema and stars Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson.
“I am thrilled to be honored by my hometown,” Littleton said. “Coming back to Miami over the years to visit my family has kept me in touch with my roots. Each time I return, I have the surreal experience of meeting my former self. So, coming to Miami now to receive this honor is like being accepted and recognized by a very large, expansive family.
“I feel I know this beautiful town – its neighborhoods, Main Street and the surrounding area,” said Littleton, a 1960 graduate of Miami High School. “I am comfortable here.”
The Celebrity Park Wall of Fame honors Miami residents who have achieved high levels of professional accomplishment and contributed to the community of Miami.
In addition to Littlefield, the Wall of Fame includes renowned artist Charles Banks Wilson, actor David Froman, 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, Steve and Cassie Gaines from legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, ballerina Moscelyne Larkin, painter and sculptor Dr. Nick Calcagno, pianist David Osborne and dancer/choreographer Bill Hudson Hastings.
Littleton, 74, who currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, lived in Miami until she was 12. She grew up with her sisters “like weeds in an unsupervised world.” She remembers a time of riding bikes without helmets, building tree houses along Tar Creek and catching tadpoles and watching them turn into frogs.
It was a time of Saturday matinees at the Glory B Theatre in downtown Miami and sledding down the ravine in front of the family home until exhausted or every second of daylight had been used up.
“I don’t think kids today have the same personal freedom,” Littleton said. “It gave us a sense of independence and possibilities.”
At the age of 12, Littleton and her family moved to a farm southwest of Miami near Afton. They lived there until a tornado destroyed most of the farm, but living in the country gave her a strong sense of place: “a sunrise on the prairie, the sound of insects on a humid summer evening, the violent storms that rage through the countryside and the blue of wind-swept winter days.”
Like many from her generation, she learned a solid work ethic from her parents and teachers. She believes in the adage that anything worth having is worth working for, even when it is difficult.
She has found memories of waiting for her mother, a teacher, to finish the workday. Littleton and her sister, Charlene Lingo, would wait for their mother at the public library on Main Street.
“We were supposed to do our homework, but more times than not, we combed the library shelves to find interesting books to read,” Littleton said. “Miss French, the librarian, guided us to fiction we could understand, newspapers and periodicals we could thumb through to get a feeling for the greater world out there. I began my life-long reading habit in Miami.”
It took a long time to find her path into the film business, most of it happening in small increments. The trigger, however, was meeting a young man named John Bailey in Florence, Italy, during the summer of 1963. Both were studying in Europe during their junior year abroad. As it turns out, Bailey was set to return to Los Angeles to finish his senior year at Loyola University and then on to the University of Southern California to study film.
“After completing graduate school, I moved to Los Angeles in 1970,” Littleton said. “John gave me the idea to work in film. I had various entry-level jobs, started my own commercial post-production company and eventually worked my way into editing feature films. I never dreamed that I’d have the career I have.
“John opened the door of opportunity and I walked in. Forty-five years later, the door to adventure and a loving marriage is still open.”
Littleton has worked on numerous projects with Bailey, who is an accomplished cinematographer, and directors such as Spielberg, Jonathan Demme and Lawrence Kasdan. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or Special for 1999’s “Tuesdays With Morrie.”
Admission to the induction ceremony and reception is free, while admission to the movies is $5 per movie.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Coleman Theatre Beautiful at 918-540-2425 or stop by the box office window at 103 North Main in Miami. Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express are accepted. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.colemantheatre.org/events.