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Walter Murch

Walter Murch

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Also Known As: Walter S Murch Died:
Born: July 12, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: sound designer, sound editor, editor, screenwriter, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This acclaimed behind-the-scenes figure has enjoyed mutually beneficial long-term collaborations with filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and USC film school classmate George Lucas. Skilled as both a film and sound editor, Murch played an important role in the creation of some of the signature films of the 1970s including "American Graffiti" (1973), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Even after his ten-year association with American Zoetrope ended, Murch continued to work with Coppola and Lucas on later projects. Moreover, he has remained a leading technician in 90s Hollywood. His sound editing was central to the artistic success of Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974), an absorbing character study which ruminated expressively on the implications of high-tech eavesdropping and voyeurism. Murch earned an Oscar nod for his work on this modern classic. He won the coveted statuette for Best Sound with the hallucinatory aural design of the director's Vietnam epic, "Apocalypse Now" (1979). As a film editor, Murch garnered Oscar nominations for Fred Zinnemann's "Julia" (1977), "Apocalypse Now", Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990) and "The Godfather, Part III" (also 1990). More recent credits...

This acclaimed behind-the-scenes figure has enjoyed mutually beneficial long-term collaborations with filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and USC film school classmate George Lucas. Skilled as both a film and sound editor, Murch played an important role in the creation of some of the signature films of the 1970s including "American Graffiti" (1973), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Even after his ten-year association with American Zoetrope ended, Murch continued to work with Coppola and Lucas on later projects. Moreover, he has remained a leading technician in 90s Hollywood. His sound editing was central to the artistic success of Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974), an absorbing character study which ruminated expressively on the implications of high-tech eavesdropping and voyeurism. Murch earned an Oscar nod for his work on this modern classic. He won the coveted statuette for Best Sound with the hallucinatory aural design of the director's Vietnam epic, "Apocalypse Now" (1979). As a film editor, Murch garnered Oscar nominations for Fred Zinnemann's "Julia" (1977), "Apocalypse Now", Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990) and "The Godfather, Part III" (also 1990). More recent credits include Zucker's Arthurian epic "First Knight" (1995) and Anthony Minghella's period romantic drama "The English Patient" (1996). For the latter, Murch performed double duty as editor and sound technician and became the first person to earn Oscars in both categories for the same film.

Murch has not limited himself to traditional theatrical films. Thousands of visitors to the Walt Disney theme parks saw his editing handiwork on "Captain Eo" (1986), a colorful sci-fi musical short in 3-D starring Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston, produced by Lucas and directed by Coppola. Similarly, Murch served as film editor on "Call From Space" (1989), the first short film from Showscan Productions. Screened at a specially equipped theater in a French theme park, the film was shot in the patented Showscan process which photographs and projects 70mm film at 60 frames per second--faster, brighter, and larger than the feature film standard (35mm film at 24 frames per second).

Murch has also worked as a screenwriter, co-scripting (with the writer-director), as well as sound editing, Lucas' first feature "THX 1138". He made his debut as a writer-director with the poorly received "Return to Oz" (1985), a dark fantasy that eschewed recreating the tone of the 1939 MGM classic musical "The Wizard of Oz" in favor of L. Frank Baum's original stories. Reviewers were put off by the somber air, deliberate pacing and absence of musical numbers. Audiences generally steered clear.

Murch has distilled his knowledge and expertise in a book on film editing entitled "In the Blink of an Eye".

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Return to Oz (1985) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Side by Side (2012)
2.
4.
 George Lucas: Creating an Empire (2002) Interviewee
5.
 Reconstructing Evil (1999) Interviewee
6.
 Finishing Heaven (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
As a freelancer, cut eductional films, commercials and documentaries in Los Angeles
:
Worked as production manager for United States Information Agency (USIA) film department
:
Relocated to San Francisco on the advice of former classmate George Lucas to collaborate with Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola
1968:
First collaboration with Lucas, served as sound editor and contributed to screenplay of Lucas' sci-fi student short "The Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138: 4EB"
:
Worked as an editor and sound mixer for Coppola's American Zoetrope company
1969:
First feature credit ("sound montage"), Coppola's "The Rain People"
1970:
Served as one of the many sound people on "Gimme Shelter", the Maysles brothers' landmark document of the Rolling Stones fateful Altamont concert
1971:
Feature screenwriting debut, co-wrote (with Lucas) script for "THX 1138" (Lucas' feature directorial debut); also received sound credit
1985:
Feature debut as writer-director, "Return to Oz"
1988:
Served as film editor on "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
1990:
Worked as film editor and sound mixer for the film "Ghost" earned Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing
1990:
Was a film editor and sound mixer for "The Godfather: Part III"; earned Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing
1993:
Worked as an editor and sound mixer on the film "Romeo Is Bleeding"
1995:
Served as film editor and sound mixer for "First Knight"
1996:
First collaboration with Anthony Minghella, served as editor and sound mixer for the Oscar winning film "The English Patient"
1999:
Worked on the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley"
2003:
Reteamed with Anthony Minghella for "Cold Mountain," served as film editor and sound mixer; earned Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing
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Education

Johns Hopkins University: Baltimore , Maryland -
University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Aggie Murch.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Walter Murch.
daughter:
Beatrice Murch.
daughter:
Kerry Murch.
daughter:
Connie Murch.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"In the Blink of an Eye"

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