Others involved with the movie have over the years given different explanations for the changed ending, but in any case the airborne pies were replaced with the now familiar montage of nuclear explosions (set to Vera Lynn’s rendition of the song “We’ll Meet Again”), an unsettling ending instead of a slapstick one.
Mr. Harvey would go on to become a director himself, teaming with Katharine Hepburn on several films, most notably “The Lion in Winter” (1968), for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He died on Nov. 23 at his home in Water Mill, on Long Island, at age 87. The Brockett Funeral Home confirmed the death.
Mr. Harvey was born on June 3, 1930, in London. His father, Geoffrey Harrison, died when he was young, and after his mother, the former Dorothy Leon, remarried, he took the surname of his stepfather, Morris Harvey, an actor.
He got an early taste of the movie business when he was cast in a small part in the 1945 film “Caesar and Cleopatra,” which starred Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh, but his real entree came when he landed a job as an editor for the British filmmakers John and Roy Boulting.
He learned the art of editing as it was done in predigital days, pasting countless film clips together by hand. He received his first film-editor credits in 1956, on a short called “On Such a Night” and the feature “Private’s Progress,” a war comedy.
He was the editor on Kubrick’s “Lolita” in 1962, which led to the “Dr. Strangelove” assignment, a difficult one that involved cutting between three concurrent story lines, one set in the war room of the American government.
“We had a huge kind of war room of our own in the cutting room,” Mr. Harvey told Mr. Kenny, “and we put up pieces of paper representing every sequence in different order.”
It was Kubrick, he said in a 1994 interview with The New York Times, who told Mr. Harvey that he was ready to direct. It was Kubrick, too, who gave him an important piece of advice: “If an actor is giving a dazzling performance, hold on to that shot” and resist the temptation to cut away to, for instance, the reactions of other characters in the scene.
In 1966, Mr. Harvey directed “The Dutchman,” a short film based on a play by LeRoi Jones, who would become better known as Amiri Baraka. Peter O’Toole was impressed enough by that film that he recruited Mr. Harvey for “The Lion in Winter,” in which Mr. O’Toole starred as Henry II opposite Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine.
“Working with her is like going to Paris at the age of 17 and finding everything is the way you thought it would be,” Mr. Harvey said. Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance, splitting the award with Barbra Streisand, who won for “Funny Girl.”
Mr. Harvey also directed Hepburn in a well-regarded television adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie” in 1973. John J. O’Connor, reviewing that film in The Times, called it “a special TV event, demanding attention.” It won four Emmy Awards.
But Mr. Harvey’s output as a director was limited. His handful of theatrical releases included the comedy “They Might Be Giants” in 1971, the drama “Richard’s Things” in 1981 and another Hepburn vehicle, “Grace Quigley,” in 1985.
That movie was poorly received, and Mr. Harvey retreated from film directing, returning only in 1994 for “This Can’t Be Love,” a television movie starring Hepburn and Anthony Quinn. He retired to his Long Island home, which he had acquired three years earlier. He leaves no immediate survivors.
Mr. Harvey was comfortable working in Hollywood but preferred life on the East Coast, where the film business was not quite so all-consuming. He told of once having surgery in a Los Angeles hospital.
“As I was coming to,” he recalled, “the anesthesiologist said, ‘I’m very anxious to get into movies.’ ”