Sound mixer Robert “Buzz” Knudson, a three-time Academy Award-winner for his work on “Cabaret,” “The Exorcist” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” died Jan. 21 in Columbia, S.C. from complications of progressive supranuclear palsy, a form of Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.
Knudson spent most of his 50-year career at Todd-AO, which he joined in 1960 as a recording engineer doing optical transfers. He was president of the company from 1982 to 1990, then served as vice chairman and as a consultant until he retired in 2003.
As a sound re-recording mixer worked on assembling the final soundtracks for films including “A Star Is Born” (1976), “Shampoo,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Coming Home,” “Ghost,” “Scarface,” “Trading Places,” “Witness,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Color Purple,” “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Empire of the Sun.”
In addition to his three Oscar wins, Knudson received seven other Oscar nominations.
A Los Angeles native, Knudson graduated from Fairfax High School in and served in the Army Air Forces during WWII. He pitched baseball in the minor leagues for several years and then landed at the RCA sound studio in Hollywood. He worked at RCA until he moved to Todd-AO in 1960. He became a sound mixer a few years later on TV shows such as “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction” and “The Addams Family.”
Knudson is survived by his wife Jean, two daughters, six grandchildren and a great-grandson.