Tom Holland Priestley (22 April 1932 – 25 December 2023) was a British film and sound editor, whose career spanned from 1961 to 1990.

Tom Priestley
Tom Priestley

(1932-04-22)22 April 1932
London, England
Died25 December 2023(2023-12-25) (aged 91)
Occupation(s)Film editor, sound editor
Years active1961–1990
Notable workDeliverance

Personal life and death


Thomas Holland Priestley was the only son of the novelist and playwright J. B. Priestley.[1] He was educated at Bryanston School and King's College, Cambridge, where he read Classics and English.[2][3][4]

Tom Priestley died on 25 December 2023, at the age of 91.[5][6]



Upon leaving Cambridge, Priestley found employment at Shepperton Studios and worked in various roles including assistant sound editor. His break came when he worked as assistant editor on the now classic films Whistle Down the Wind and This Sporting Life.[7] Bryan Forbes and Lindsay Anderson were so impressed by his ability to edit that he soon graduated to supervising editor and then full editor. His first complete edit was the John Krish directed science fiction movie Unearthly Stranger (1963). From the late 1960s to the late 1980s, he was always in demand and was regarded as one of the world's leading film editors.[7] He has worked on many prize winning films and with a multitude of leading directors and producers. These included Karel Reisz, Lindsay Anderson, John Boorman, Roman Polanski, Jack Clayton, James Scott and Blake Edwards. He won a BAFTA in 1967 for his work on Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment and was Academy Award-nominated in 1972 for Deliverance. When production of Roman Polanski's Tess (1979) became problematic, he was brought in to assist Alastair McIntyre and get the film completed. Priestley edited the 1982 film A Shocking Accident, directed by James Scott, which won the Oscar in 1983 for Best Live Action Short.

From 1990, Priestley spent his time more in the world lecturing on film editing and handling the estate of his late father.[1] He was president of the J. B. Priestley Society and The Priestley Centre for the Arts in Bradford, West Yorkshire.[8]



Film editing


Sound editing



  1. ^ a b Sierz, Aleks (29 October 2007). Revisiting J B Priestley's lost world, The Daily Telegraph, Retrieved 2 December 2010
  2. ^ Vincent Brome, J. B. Priestley (London: Hamilton, 1988), p. 349.
  3. ^ "Tripos Results at Cambridge", The Times Educational Supplement, 25 June 1954, p. 633.
  4. ^ "Cambridge Tripos Lists", Times, 21 June 1955, p. 13.
  5. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (25 January 2024). "Tom Priestley obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  6. ^ Bartlett, Rhett (19 February 2024). "Tom Priestley, Oscar-Nominated Film Editor on 'Deliverance,' Dies at 91". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  7. ^ a b Priestley, Tom (1932-), Screenonline, Retrieved 2 December 2010
  8. ^ Main Page,, Retrieved 2 December 2010 (listing Tom Priestley as president)