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Kay Rose

First woman to win Oscar for sound editing

Kay Rose, the first woman to win an Oscar for sound editing, for 1984’s “The River,” died Dec. 11 in Burbank, Calif., of multiple organ system failure. She was 80.

A native of New York, Rose was recognized in March with a career achievement award from the Cinema Audio Society. The Motion Picture Sound Editors gave her a similar lifetime kudo in 1993.

In October, directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg endowed the Kay Rose Chair in the Art of Sound and Dialogue Editing at USC’s School of Cinema-Television. The chair is the first of its kind in the country.

After studying film at Hunter College, she became a civilian film apprentice for the Army Signal Corps during World War II, where she helped create training films and John Huston’s doc “Report From the Aleutians.” She moved to Hollywood in 1944 and found a job as an assistant to an editor at Universal. In 1951, she married film editor Sherman Rose. Together, they produced the 1954 sci-fi cult classic “Target Earth.”

She was sound effects editor for the 1957 film “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein” and in charge of sound effects for two major Western television series: “The Rifleman” (1958-63) and “The Big Valley” 1965-69.

During her five-decade career, Rose received sound editing credits on such films as “Comes a Horseman,” “The Rose,” “Ordinary People,” “On Golden Pond,” “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “The Prince of Tides,” “For the Boys,” “Speed” and many more.

Divorced from husband Rose, she is survived by her daughter, sound editor and director Victoria Rose Sampson, as well as two granddaughters and a sister.

Services are at noon today in the Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.

Contribute in her name can be made to the USC Film School Sound Department fund (Kay Rose Chair), Habitat for Humanity, Providence/St. Joseph’s Foundation or the charity of your choice.

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