Jerry Christian, Emmy-Winning Sound Man at Universal, Dies at 86

He worked with Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg during his 42 years at the studio.

Jerry Christian, an Emmy-winning sound effects editor who worked at Universal Studios for 42 years, died May 26 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank following a yearlong illness. He was 86.

Christian, who headed the studio's sound effects department for at least four decades, earned his Emmy for Duel, the 1971 ABC movie of the week that put director Steven Spielberg on the map. He also oversaw the sound effects for such classic Universal films as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) and Spielberg's Jaws (1975).

The sound man also received an Emmy nomination in 1976 for his work The Six Million Dollar Man. His résumé includes such series as Dragnet, Columbo and Knight Rider

Christian met his eventual wife, Nan, at Universal; she was working as a secretary for producer James Pratt at the time. They were married for 47 years and made their home in Toluca Lake for 40. She survives him.

Christian was born Nov. 19, 1925, in Quincy, Ill. His parents were Alice Yates, a cousin of Mark Twain, and Benton Christian, a cousin of Alexander Graham Bell. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired from the studio in 1998.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his son, Robert; his brother, Bill; his sisters, Dorothy and Rosetta; and his grandchildren, Maxwell and Caitlin.

At Christian’s request, no services are planned. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

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