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Golden Reel Awards: Honoree Ray Dolby Was a 'Brilliant Scientist'

The Motion Picture Sound Editors will pay tribute to the audio technology inventor, who died in September at age 80, at Sunday's awards ceremony.

Ray Rolby
Ray Dolby

This story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In Rob Reiner's classic rock mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap, the members of the band are stunned by the ignorance of their lead singer's girlfriend when she mangles a name, saying "Dobly" instead of "Dolby."

The name Dolby is, of course, synonymous with sound technology. And the man behind that technology is Ray Dolby, the inventor who founded Dolby Laboratories and died Sept. 12 at age 80. To celebrate his hugely influential career, the Motion Picture Sound Editors will honor him with a tribute at the 61st Golden Reel Awards.

STORY: Ray Dolby Tribute Planned by Motion Picture Sound Editors

"Ray Dolby was a brilliant scientist whose inventions are in use every day in recording studios, sound editing suites, mix stages and cinemas worldwide," says MPSE president Frank Morrone.

Dolby's pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the development of seminal audio technologies -- including his namesake SR noise-reduction system -- and resulted in more than 50 U.S. patents. He has received countless honors, from the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton to an Oscar statuette.

The MPSE awards ceremony also will toast Skywalker Sound's veteran sound designer/rerecording mixer Randy Thom -- who has won Academy Awards for The Incredibles and The Right Stuff -- by presenting him with the organization's Career Achievement Award. Thom, Skywalker's director of sound design, also is nominated for two Golden Reel Awards this year for The Croods and Epic.