J. Watson Webb Jr.

James Watson Webb III[1] (known as J. Watson Jr.) (January 9, 1916 – June 10, 2000) was an American film editor and heir to both the Havemeyer and Vanderbilt families.

J. Watson Webb Jr.
President of the Shelburne Museum
In office
Preceded byElectra Havemeyer Webb
Personal details
James Watson Webb III

(1916-01-09)January 9, 1916
Syosset, New York, U.S.
DiedJune 10, 2000(2000-06-10) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
RelationsSee Vanderbilt family
Parent(s)James Watson Webb II
Electra Havemeyer
EducationGroton School
Alma materYale University
OccupationFilm editor, philanthropist

Early lifeEdit

He was born in Syosset, New York, to James Watson Webb II of the Vanderbilt family and Electra Havemeyer. His siblings were Electra (1910–1982), Samuel (1912–1988), Lila (1913–1961) and Harry (1922–1975).[2]

He attended Groton School and Yale University from which he graduated in 1938.[2]


He began work in California as an apprentice film editor at 20th-Century Fox, and eventually head of the editing department.[3] He eventually became Zanuck's head film cutter and was involved in the founding of the American Cinema Editors.[2]

Webb was the credited editor—as "J. Watson Webb" or "J. Watson Webb Jr."—on 30 films from 1941–52[4] including A Letter to Three Wives, The Razor's Edge with Tyrone Power, Wing and a Prayer, State Fair, With a Song in My Heart, Call Northside 777, Broken Arrow with James Stewart and Cheaper by the Dozen.[2]

Also among his credits, along with Three Wives (1949) starring Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern and Kirk Douglas were The Jackpot (1950) also with Stewart and Don't Bother to Knock (1952) starring Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft. Webb retired from film editing in 1952.[3] Barbara McLean, his boss, promoted Hugh S. Fowler to replace Webb.[citation needed]

Shelburne MuseumEdit

Webb succeeded his mother and served as the president of the Shelburne Museum from 1960 until 1977 and then as chairman of the board of directors until 1996. Watson resigned from the board in a dispute over deaccessioning[3] of an estimated $25-million worth of the museum's Impressionist collection which his mother had donated to the museum.[2][5]

Webb gave his mother's folk art first purchase, made at the age of 18 in Stamford, Connecticut, prominent display in his California home for decades.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He died in Los Angeles, California, on June 10, 2000.[2] Webb never married and was survived by three nephews and six nieces.[3]


  1. ^ "J Watson Webb III". Rootsweb.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "J. Watson Webb, Former Head Of the Shelburne (Vt.) Museum". New York Times. June 14, 2000. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e Oliver, Myrna, "J. Watson Webb Jr.; Film Editor Also Oversaw Family's Museum", Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2000. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "J. Watson Webb Jr.", IMDb. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Museum's Fortunes Rise at Auction". New York Times. November 13, 1996. Retrieved October 9, 2010. The museum has been losing money steadily and is said to have had a deficit of more than $300,000 in 1994.... The decision to sell some of its collection followed two years of debate among the museum's directors, which became so contentious that the board chairman, J. Watson Webb ... resigned in January. At the time, Mr. Webb said the museum's plans to sell valuable French Impressionist works given by his mother violated the code of ethics of the American Association of Museums, which forbids the selling of artworks for purposes other than acquiring more art.

Further readingEdit

  • Weitzenhoffer, Frances. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1986.

External linksEdit