Won Oscars for 'Empire,' 'Raiders'
Sound re-recording mixer Bill Varney, a two-time Academy Award winner and four-time nominee, died Saturday, April 2 in Fairhope, Ala., from complications of congestive heart failure. He was 77.
Born in Beverly, Mass., Varney started his 40-year career as a disc jockey in New Hampshire and Massachusetts but got the film bug while working on educational film at MIT. In 1961 he came to the West Coast to help produce educational films for Encyclopedia Britannica.
Varney started mixing at Producer Sound Services, then moved to Samuel Goldwyn Studios and retired from Universal Studios Hollywood as VP of sound operations in May 2001.
Among his many TV and film credits were “Roots” (Emmy nomination for episode one), “Animal House” (1978), “Grease” (1978), “Ordinary People” (1980), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980, Oscar win), “Raiders of the Lost” (1981, Oscar win), “Poltergeist” (1982), “Dune” (1984, Oscar nom), and “Back to the Future” (1985, Oscar nom).
He was also a president of the Cinema Audio Society and member of the exec committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Survivors include his wife, Suzanne, and a daughter.