Harold William Varney|
January 22, 1934
Beverly, Massachusetts, U.S.
April 2, 2011 (aged 77)|
Fairhope, Alabama, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Suzanne Varney (1 child)|
Harold William "Bill" Varney (January 22, 1934 – April 2, 2011) was an American motion picture sound mixer. A two-time Academy Award winner, Varney shared the Academy Award for Best Sound for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Varney also received Academy Award for Best Sound nominations his collaborative sound mixing on Dune in 1984 and Back to the Future in 1985.
Life and career
One of Varney's earliest projects was a film focusing on singer Joan Baez during the 1950s. Baez's father was a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Varney relocated to southern California in 1961, where he produced educational films for Encyclopædia Britannica.
Varney transitioned to film and television sound mixing in 1972. He worked on approximately 85 productions over the next twenty-five years. He worked at The Samuel Goldwyn Company for fourteen years, until he joined Universal Pictures in 1985.
Varney won collaborative back-to-back Academy Awards for Best Sound for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. He also received nominations for Dune in 1984 and Back to the Future in 1985. Additionally, Varney won an Emmy Award for his sound work on the 1977 television miniseries, Roots.
By 1998, he had risen to become the Vice President of Sound Operations for Universal Pictures. That same year, Varney collaborated on the sound re-editing for the 1958 Orson Welles film, Touch of Evil. Welles had been replaced from the film during its post-production, and was never allowed to cut Touch of Evil the way he had originally intended. Film historians led Universal Pictures to a 58-page lost memo written by Welles a year before the film was released. Varney spearheaded the sound restoration for the 1998 directors cut re-release of Touch of Evil. Varney used "digital processing to bring the 40-year-old soundtracks to a new level of clarity," according to Walter Murch, who worked as the sound editor and sound mixer for the 1998 re-release.
- "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- "The 54th Academy Awards (1982) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- Nelson, Valerie J. (2011-04-07). "Bill Varney dies at 77; Oscar-winning sound mixer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- "The 57th Academy Awards (1985) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- "The 58th Academy Awards (1986) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- "Harold William (Bill) Varney". Press-Register. Retrieved 9 April 2011.