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Jack Solomon, 89; Movie Sound Artist Won Academy Award

He worked with Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra, and did sound for the film about jazz drummer Gene Krupa.

November 18, 2002|Myrna Oliver | Times Staff Writer

Jack Solomon, who shared with Murray Spivack the first Academy Award given to individuals for sound in 1969 for the motion picture version of "Hello Dolly," has died. He was 89.

Solomon died Nov. 8 in Los Angeles of complications following heart surgery.

Something of a legend in his industry, Solomon worked on sound for 60 motion pictures during his 50-year career. In 1992, he received the Life Achievement Award from the Cinema Audio Society.

Even after "talkies" replaced silent movies in the late 1920s, sound was considered the poor relation of the movie-making process. From 1929 until Solomon and Spivack broke the mold 40 years later, Academy Awards for sound were handed out, not to the individuals who did the work, but to the studio that produced the film.

Solomon, who elevated sound-making and mixing to an art form, worked on several films nominated for Oscars. But he finally won the official recognition -- and the statuette -- along with Spivack in 1969 for Barbra Streisand's mega-musical film version of "Hello Dolly!"

The sound man seemed a favorite of musicians -- in addition to the Oscar winner, he handled sound mixing for other Streisand movies, including "Funny Girl," "The Way We Were" and "Funny Lady."

Earlier in his career, Solomon worked with Frank Sinatra in "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "Four for Texas," and he handled the sound for the biopic about the jazz drummer "The Gene Krupa Story" starring Sal Mineo.

Solomon also was in great demand for action films, working on at least four with Burt Reynolds -- "Smokey and the Bandit II," "The Cannonball Run," "Sharkey's Machine" and "Stroker Ace" -- and capping his career with the 1992 "Patriot Games" starring Harrison Ford.

Among Solomon's other notable feature credits were "The Graduate" in 1967 and the 1976 remake of "King Kong."

Solomon also did work for television, including movies and the 1985-86 series "Morningstar/Eveningstar" about a merged orphanage and old folks' home, which provided him with the challenge of meshing high-pitched children's voices with deeper tones from senior citizens.

Solomon is survived by two daughters, Kay Solomon and Trish Dunne; and four grandchildren.

Memorial services are scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Lutheran Church, 815 Venice Blvd. The family has asked that, instead of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Scripps Research Institute, 10550 Torrey Pines Road, Mail Drop TPC2, La Jolla, CA 92037.

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