Billy Weber was born in Los Angeles, California, and, after two years of college, he decided he wanted to be involved in movie making. Not knowing how to get started, he went to work in various jobs until he met a film editor named Sidney Levin. He showed Weber his editing room, showed him how to splice film together, took him to onto his first movie set – The Fortune Cookie (1966), starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and directed by Billy Wilder – and generally showed him what it would be like to work in a cutting room. Weber loved it instantly.
Eventually, Weber got a job at Universal Studios working in the Print Shop, collating and delivering scripts around the lot, and from there he got a job in the editorial department, working in film shipping. That job got him in the union and his foot in the door. A couple of years later he got a job as an editor on a $85,000 feature being made by some of his friends called Messiah of Evil (1973). That was his first editing experience. From there, Weber got a job as an assistant editor on The Candidate (1972), starring Robert Redford. There were two editors on the movie, and one of them, Robert Estrin, was going on to cut a low-budget, non-union movie and needed an assistant. He asked Weber if he would be interested in working with him, and Weber agreed. That movie was BADLANDS (1973), and it began Weber’s association with Terrence Malick, which continues today, over forty years later. Weber eventually became the associate editor of BADLANDS and five years later edited Days of Heaven (1978).
Over the years, he has worked on The Warriors (1979), directed by Walter Hill; Jekyll and Hyde…Together Again (1989), directed by Jerry Belson; 48 Hrs. (1982), directed by Walter Hill; Iceman (1984), directed by Fred Schepisi; Beverly Hills Cop (1984), directed by Martin Brest; Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), directed by Tim Burton; Top Gun (1986), directed by Tony Scott; Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), directed by Tony Scott; Midnight Run (1988), directed by Martin Brest; The Package (1989), directed by Andy Davis; Days of Thunder (1990), directed by Tony Scott; Pure Luck (1991), directed by Nadia Tass; Grumpier Old Men (1995), directed by Howard Deutsch; Murder at 1600 (1997), directed by Dwight Little; The Thin Red Line (1998), directed by Terrence Malick; Miss Congeniality (2000), directed by Donald Petrie; Showtime (2002), directed by Tom Dey; Gigli (2003), directed by Martin Brest; and Nacho Libre (2006), directed by Jared Hess. He recently worked on The Tree of Life (2011), directed by Terrence Malick.
From the time he edited Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Weber decided he wanted to direct and began to pursue that course. Finally, after he edited Pure Luck, Universal liked an idea he had for a movie and hired a writer to do a screenplay for him to direct and Martin Brest to produce. At the same time, Tim Burton asked him to direct 2nd Unit on Batman Returns (1992). When Weber was finished with Batman Returns, the script was finished, so he directed Josh and S.A.M. (1993), a picture distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Billy Weber has been nominated for two Academy Awards, an American Cinema Editors award, and a Golden Reel award from the Cinema Audio Society. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Silver Lake Jewish Community Center and is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Motion Picture Editors Guild.