Alan Robert Murray, Two-Time Oscar-Winning Sound Editor, Dies at 66

Alan Robert Murray
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Image

Alan Robert Murray

Alan Robert Murray, the supervising sound editor and decades-long collaborator with Clint Eastwood who earned Oscars for his work on the director's American Sniper and Letters to Iwo Jima, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, sources told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 66.

Last year, Murray set a sound editing record with his 10th career Academy Award nomination, for Todd Phillips' Joker. His first two noms came for his contributions to Richard Donner's Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989).

Murray also received Oscar noms for the Eastwood-helmed films Space Cowboys (2000), Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Sully (2016) and for Chuck Russell's Eraser (1996) and Denis Villeneuve's Sicario (2015).

He worked on 32 films directed by Eastwood, from Escape From Alcatraz (1979) to Richard Jewell (2019), in a stretch that also included the best picture winners Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).

In addition, he partnered with Eastwood on several others movies that the Hollywood legend produced and/or starred in, including Any Which Way You Can (1980), Tightrope (1984), The Dead Pool (1988) and Trouble With the Curve (2012).

Eastwood "has always been one who lets the artists bring what they can to the table," Murray said backstage at the Oscars after his win for American Sniper (2014). "He gives you specific notes but lets you create on your own. And he respects the artists on his crew."

Murray shared his Oscars with fellow supervising sound editor Bub Asman; they worked together on more than 50 films.

His extensive résumé also included The Warriors (1979), Star Trek the Motion Picture (1979), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Fatal Attraction (1987), Die Hard 2 (1990), New Jack City (1991), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Star Trek X: Nemesis (2002), The Legend of Zorro (2005) and A Star Is Born (2018). He helped Bradley Cooper get thorough his directorial debut on that last one after meeting the actor on American Sniper.

He also served as supervising sound editor on Taylor Sheridan's upcoming release For Those Who Wish Me Dead.

Murray began his career in the 1970 at Paramount, where he was mentored by Howard Beals, who worked with filmmakers from Cecil B. DeMille to Francis Ford Coppola. He had been based at Warner Bros. Sound since 1979.

"Our Warner Bros. family grieves the loss of our dedicated and dear friend Alan," Warners executive vp worldwide postproduction services Kim Waugh said in a statement. "His contributions to film sound and his presence within the postproduction community will be honored for many decades to come. Alan will live in our hearts for eternity."

Speaking with THR last year about his approach to Joker, Murray said he wanted to use realistic sounds. "It was more of following Arthur's descent into madness," he said. "Everything would start off normal, and then our sound effects reacted to what was going on with [the character]."

Survivors include his wife, Debbie, and three children working in motion pictures: Blu Murray, an editor; Kevin R.W. Murray, who works in sound; and Hailey Murray, who works in postproduction.