Nicholas Korda, Sound Editor on 'E.T.,' 'Fatal Attraction' and 'Basic Instinct,' Dies at 73

Nicholas Korda - Obit- Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Sarah Korda

The Emmy winner also worked on two 'Star Trek' movies and alongside Clint Eastwood on four films.

Nicholas Korda, an Emmy-winning sound editor who worked on E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialFatal AttractionBasic Instinct and Dick Tracy for the big screen, has died. He was 73.

Korda died Oct. 8 at his Los Angeles home after a nine-year battle with brain cancer, his daughter, Sarah, announced.

Korda entered the industry as an assistant editor and went on to build a 40-year career as an ADR (automated dialogue replacement) editor on dozens of movies. 

His father was Hungarian-born director Zoltan Korda (The Four Feathers, Humphrey Bogart's Sahara and Cry, the Beloved Country), and his mother was British actress Joan Gardner (The Scarlet Pimpernel).

Korda was a member of the team that received the Oscar for best sound for Steven Spielberg's E.T. in 1983, and he received his Emmy two years later for his work on the Donald P. Bellisario action drama Airwolf.

Korda collaborated with Clint Eastwood on the best picture Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby (2004) as well as on Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) — for which he won a Golden Reel Award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors — and Invictus (2009), his last film.

His résumé also included The Black Hole (1979), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), The Breakfast Club (1985), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), The Addams Family (1991), Hoffa (1992), Star Trek: Generations (1994), Twister (1996), As Good as It Gets (1997), Three Kings (1999) and Get Smart (2008).

After his parents came to the U.S. from England in 1940, Nicholas Vincent Korda was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1945. He attended grade school in Switzerland before returning to attend Harvard School, a military academy in L.A.

Korda began college at UC Berkeley in the late 1960s, where he studied U.S. history. He proudly completed his degree at Cal State Northridge in 2006 and also took up the bassoon in his 60s.

His daughter said that he was unpretentious and humble and often told stories about his fears of being called in to be fired — only to find out he was being rewarded with praise.

In addition to Sarah and her spouse Maria, survivors include his son Andrew (Pille); his brother, David — a former producer and production manager in Hollywood who now works as a completion guarantor — and his granddaughter, Cleo.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 in Woodland Hills. For details, please email Donations in his memory can be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund or to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.