Sound effects artist Gonzalo Gavira, who created many of the sound effects for “The Exorcist,” died Jan. 9 in Mexico City due to circulatory problems related to smoking. He was 79.
Gavira worked on over 60 films in Mexico and the United States during his career, but “The Exorcist” stands out, as it won the 1973 Academy Award for sound, for which Gavira played a significant role.
He was famous for his innovative, and highly improvised, methods for producing unusual sounds, and “doing a Gavira” has entered the in the Mexican film industry, as shorthand for coming up with a new audio trick.
Gavira began his career in radio, producing sound effects for weekly serials. After a few film jobs in the 1950s and 60s, he moved to the big screen fulltime in the 1970s, working with directors like Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Bunuel and Sergio Leone.
In 1975, he was awarded the Silver Ariel award, Mexico’s equivalent of an Oscar. He last worked on a film in 2002, running sound for “De la calle” (Streeters).
Most recently he worked at the Center for Cinematic Training (CCC), Mexico’s top film school, which has said it will rename its sound studio for Gavira.
He is survived by his daughter, Rosalinda.