Doug Grindstaff, ‘Star Trek’ Sound Effects Maestro, Dies at 87

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Doug Grindstaff, a five-time Emmy Award winner who created communicator beeps, Tribble coos and other sound effects employed on the original Star Trek, died July 23 in Peoria, Arizona, his family announced. He was 87.

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Grindstaff served as a vice president at Lorimar-Telepictures, headed sound departments at Paramount, Columbia and Pacific Sound and was president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors, which honored him in 1998 with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He also was a member of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 

During his five-decade career, Grindstaff also was a valuable behind-the-scenes player on Mannix, Mission: Impossible, The Odd Couple, The Brady Bunch, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Dallas and Fantasy Island.

He received 14 Emmy nominations in all — including one for Star Trek in 1967 — and won for his editing on The Immortal in 1970, Medical Story in 1976, Police Story in 1978, Power in 1980 and Max Headroom in 1987.

Grindstaff said he created Tribble coos by manipulating the sound of a dove.

 

Born on April 6, 1931, Grindstaff, the youngest of five boys, was raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from the California Institute of the Arts and served in combat in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

 

Early in his entertainment career, Grindstaff was a supervising sound editor on One Potato, Two Potato (1964), the groundbreaking interracial drama directed by Larry Peerce that starred Barbara Barrie and Bernie Hamilton.

 

He was working on a series called Swinging Summer at Goldwyn when he got a phone call from Roddenberry asking him to work on Star Trek.

 

Survivors include his wife, Marcia; children Marla, Chuck and Dan; stepchildren Dean, Felicia and Eli; 16 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  CBS
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