Tech expert Richard J. Stumpf died Feb. 2 in Los Angeles. He was 79.
Stumpf received two Academy Awards for technical contributions and the Academy Medal of Commendation in 1992.
He spent 29 years at Universal Studios as senior VP of engineering and development. Before that he was director of sound and electronics, managing the sound department for 14 years. He was co-inventor on two patents while at Universal.
He started his career in television engineering with NBC and RCA. He also worked in aerospace on the first manned space program, Project Mercury.
A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences since 1970, he served on the Sci-Tech awards committee for 23 years. He had been on the science and technology council since its founding and chaired the council’s technology history subcommittee.
He was a life fellow member of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers and served five terms on its board of governors. From 1984-91 he co-chaired the High Definition SMPTE Working Group that wrote the 1125/60 production standard.
Among his other honors were the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal Award in 1986 and the SMPTE Presidential Proclamation in 1997. In 1998 he received the NATO Lifetime Achievement Award.
He also served as CTO Emeritus of the Entertainment Technology Center at USC.
Stumpf is survived by his wife of 48 years, Paula, two sons, two daughters and six grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants, www.theodorepayne.org.