You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gene S. Cantamessa dies at 80

Sound mixer earned Oscar for 'E.T.'

Sound mixer Gene S. Cantamessa, who earned an Oscar for his work on “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” as well as six other nominations, died in Los Angeles on Nov. 8 after a long hospitalization. He was 80.

In addition to “E.T.” (he shared his Oscar with Robert Knudson, Robert Glass and Don Digirolamo), Cantamessa shared best-sound nominations for Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “1941”; Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”; “The Candidate,” starring Robert Redford; “2010”; and, in 1987, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

Born in Queens, Cantamessa began his career sweeping floors at Ryder sound services in 1955. He later moved to 20th Century Fox, where he worked as a boom operator on TV series “Peyton Place” and “Daniel Boone,” which eventually led to work on films such as “The Sand Pebbles” and “Star.”

He became a sound mixer in 1971 and worked steadily for the next three decades, amassing credits on more than 100 films including “Blazing Saddles,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Same Time, Next Year,” “The Big Chill,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Postcards From the Edge,” “Kindergarten Cop” and “The Birdcage.” He earned his last credit on the 1999 Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer “End of Days.”

Cantamessa was awarded the Cinema Audio Society’s lifetime achievement award in 1999.

He was a member of IATSE local 695 for 56 years, serving on the executive board for three decades, and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences since 1983.

Cantamessa is survived by his wife, Sandy; a son, Steve Cantamessa, also a sound mixer, and Gina Mitchell, who also works in the industry; and two grandsons.

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content