LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oscar-nominated film editor Sally JoAnne Menke was found dead Tuesday along a Hollywood Hills trail where she went hiking during a record Southern California heat wave.

The body of Menke, 56, was discovered at 2:15 a.m. in rugged Beachwood Canyon on the west side of Griffith Park, assistant coroner Ed Winter said. Her black Labrador retriever was standing near the body.

Menke went for a hike with the dog Monday morning and didn’t return. Her locked car was located in a Griffith Park parking lot.

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A friend organized a foot and horseback search, then contacted police at 6 p.m. when she couldn’t be found. Search dogs, a police helicopter, Hollywood Division officers and the Fire Department’s urban search and rescue squad participated in the search.

The cause of death hasn’t been determined, but Winter says there is no sign of foul play. He wouldn’t disclose any details or speculate that record heat — it was 113 degrees in Los Angeles on Monday — may have been a factor in her death.

Menke, the daughter-in-law of famed cellist Aldo Simoes Parisot, edited every Quentin Tarantino film from “Reservoir Dogs” in 1992 to last year’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which earned her an Academy Award nomination.

Menke’s other film credits include “Death Proof” (2007), “Grindhouse” (2007), “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004), “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003), “Daddy and Them” (2001), “D.C. Smalls” (2001), “All the Pretty Horses” (2000), “Jackie Brown” (1997), “Nightwatch” (1997), “Mulholland Falls” (1996), “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” (1991).

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (17)
  1. Mary says:

    Rest in Peace, gosh I hope no foul play was involved. Monday’s heat in L.A. hit a record 113 degrees. Griffith Park is not immune to the same temps. She must have collapsed before she could make a call for help and depending where you’re located out there,you may or may not get a cell signal. I quit hiking those trails many years ago for the same reason.

  2. vudu says:

    56 is not too old to go hiking in the heat. Physical fitness would be far more of a factor than age. She had an impressive list of work, its too bad she died. She may have underestimated the heat a bit, but if she is someone who stays active and enjoys hiking……… stuoid wouldn’t be a good description.

    1. chris says:

      or rather do stupid things. Same thing. Andyes she did do alot and was great at what she did. But not great at making decisions obviously. O well

  3. greg says:

    what bothers me is that she was missing for 3 hours and had all this equipment and people out looking, had it been any other part of LA it would be 2-3 DAYS before anyone started to look, double standard?

    1. Greg the Jedi says:

      greg, totally double standard….griffith park is a safe area to search for people who get lost…u send a police copter in inglewood or compton…it will get shot down and a higher risk of traffic accidents of a media chopper is following a runaway suspect in a fast car, welcome to LA…

      plus, she had a friend that hiked with her about halfway and then she went home…so, she knew sally wouldve been home by 6pm that night..she ‘s been hiking since 9am…so anything passed 8 hours ,she called the cops

  4. Michael says:

    From early news reports they said a friend met her in Griffith Park and they started the hike together along with her Lab but that during the hike she started to feel sick and would make her way back down to her car. At that point they separated and later in the day the friend found her car still in the parking lot after her own hike so she called authorities. Not to put blame anywhere but when you know someone is feeling sick or does not feel right you should never leave their side especially on a hike and on such a hot day as yesterday. I think we all need to do a better job of looking out for each other

  5. lefteye02 says:

    Im not understanding something here…Mitrice Richardson was missing and NOBODY didnt bother to send out search parties for her, claiming that she was a grown woman and left the police station on her free will, but yet, this 56 year old woman goes hiking in the 113 degree heat, and gets a search party after being missing for 2-3 hours….I guess skin color does matter when it comes to missing people….

    1. Crazyman Dancer says:

      @ lefteye02 – Amazing isnt it.

      Similar to how that Guatemalan man was quickly shot by one, not three cops as he was “wielding a knife”.

      But then you remember that one mentally ill white woman at Target who actually did slash people, was rather tall and husky, crazed look in her eyes and she was subdued and apprehended rather than being shot.

      Just makes you think.

    2. J Thor says:

      lefteye02, Mitrice was a stoned out of her mind thief. Why look for her. Mitrice disappeared to save her family the embarrassment of her stealing the food she didn’t pay for.

      1. lefteye02 says:

        so, thats an excuse not to find her, right?? what if this woman was a thief and a druggie? But yet, the cops went out of their way to find her within hours.

  6. Marc Grammenos says:

    Her death was unnecessary. She should not have gone hiking alone in such heat. At 113 degrees heat, I stay home and keep cool. I extend my condolences to her family. Sincerely, Marc

  7. Raul Duke says:

    Hiking in Griffith Park on the hottest day in LA’s recorded history was a bad idea. Sure, most people can get away with it if they don’t overdo it but it’s still a bad idea. She was probably feeling sick because of the onset of heat stroke or she may have already had an illness that was compounded by the heat. You have to be in fairly good shape and stay well hydrated in order to NOT feel sick in that kind of heat.
    I don’t doubt that there is a double standard for sending out a search party. A well known (white) Hollywood figure will definitely get a faster and larger response than most people would… but, that being said, there was “reasonable suspicion” that she was in need of help, so the response was justified.
    The fact remains that anyone who hikes by themselves in Griffith Park (or most any place) is taking a risk. You can get heat stroke and become disoriented, fall from a ledge, get bitten by a rattlesnake, etc. The tragedy of this death is not so much who she was but that it was probably very avoidable. Sometimes, a seemingly inconsequential decision can get you killed.
    RIP Sally JoAnne Menke. You will be missed but remembered for your amazing work.

  8. Marty Jourard says:

    Sally Menke was a sweet, talented woman and a devoted mother and much loved by the film industry. She made a fatal mistake that day. It’s a sad end for a person whose talent brought joy to millions of movie fans.
    There’s really no spin you can put on this story.

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