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Douglas Grindstaff, Sound Designer for Star Trek: TOS, Has Passed Away

Rest in Peace, Douglas Grindstaff

Word of the Nerd is sorry to report the passing of Douglas Grindstaff. Douglas Grindstaff was best known for working on the sound editing and design of Star Trek: The Original Series. He died of natural causes on Monday 23 July 2018. He was 87 years old.

In addition to his work on Star Trek: The Original Series, Grindstaff contributed sound work to over 50 other works. Among these were The Odd CoupleThe Brady Bunch, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. His career spanned over half a century.

The Importance of Sound Design in Media

Douglas Grindstaff surrounded by awards
Douglas Grindstaff surrounded by awards

Sound design isn’t as lauded as cinematography or direction. But your favorite visual media would not be the same without it. Can you imagine Star Trek without the bridge door sounds, or without the klaxon noise indicating that someone, somewhere, has caused some sort of disaster? I’m not sure that you can, and that’s the beauty of both sound design and sound editing. The sound design fills out the world, and Grindstaff spent his career lending his expertise to build up an unbelievable amount of iconic fictional worlds. 

Douglas Grindstaff was nominated for the Individual Achievement in Film and Sound Editing in 1967 for his work on Star Trek: The Original Series. He eventually won a total of five sound Emmys, but none for Star Trek.

Mike Okuda, who worked on graphic design for Star Trek: The Next Generation, said of Grindstaff that “It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of Doug Grindstaff and his colleagues to the world of Star Trek. Grindstaff was among the first to use imaginative sound effects to create virtual environments, not only for each area of the Enterprise, but for the alien planets visited by Kirk and company.”

Word of the Nerd‘s thoughts and prayers are with Douglas Grindstaff’s family and friends in this sad time. 


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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 25 year old library professional with an MS in search of her library.

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