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Overview for Walter Murch
Walter Murch

Walter Murch



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Also Known As: Walter S Murch Died:
Born: July 12, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Editing ... editor sound designer sound editor director screenwriter


This acclaimed behind-the-scenes figure has enjoyed mutually beneficial long-term collaborations with filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and USC film school classmate George Lucas. Skilled as both a film and sound editor, Murch played an important role in the creation of some of the signature films of the 1970s including "American Graffiti" (1973), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Even after his ten-year association with American Zoetrope ended, Murch continued to work with Coppola and Lucas on later projects. Moreover, he has remained a leading technician in 90s Hollywood. His sound editing was central to the artistic success of Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974), an absorbing character study which ruminated expressively on the implications of high-tech eavesdropping and voyeurism. Murch earned an Oscar nod for his work on this modern classic. He won the coveted statuette for Best Sound with the hallucinatory aural design of the director's Vietnam epic, "Apocalypse Now" (1979). As a film editor, Murch garnered Oscar nominations for Fred Zinnemann's "Julia" (1977), "Apocalypse Now," Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990) and "The Godfather, Part III" (also 1990). More recent credits include Zucker's Arthurian epic "First Knight" (1995) and Anthony Minghella's period romantic drama "The English Patient" (1996). For the latter, Murch performed double duty as editor and sound technician and became the first person to earn Oscars in both categories for the same film.

Murch has not limited himself to traditional theatrical films. Thousands of visitors to the Walt Disney theme parks saw his editing handiwork on "Captain Eo" (1986), a colorful sci-fi musical short in 3-D starring Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston, produced by Lucas and directed by Coppola. Similarly, Murch served as film editor on "Call From Space" (1989), the first short film from Showscan Productions. Screened at a specially equipped theater in a French theme park, the film was shot in the patented Showscan process which photographs and projects 70mm film at 60 frames per second--faster, brighter, and larger than the feature film standard (35mm film at 24 frames per second).

Murch has also worked as a screenwriter, co-scripting (with the writer-director), as well as sound editing, Lucas' first feature "THX 1138." He made his debut as a writer-director with the poorly received "Return to Oz" (1985), a dark fantasy that eschewed recreating the tone of the 1939 MGM classic musical "The Wizard of Oz" in favor of L. Frank Baum's original stories. Reviewers were put off by the somber air, deliberate pacing and absence of musical numbers. Audiences generally steered clear.

Murch has distilled his knowledge and expertise in a book on film editing entitled "In the Blink of an Eye."

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