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Douglas Grindstaff, Star Trek Sound Editor/Designer, Dead at 87

The five-time Emmy winner served as MPSE president and won its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Peoria, AZ (August 13, 2018)—Emmy-winning sound editor Doug Grindstaff died July 27 in Peoria, AZ; he was 87. Over the course of his lengthy career, Grindstaff won five Emmys from 14 nominations, working on staple TV programs such as Mission: Impossible, The Odd Couple, The Brady Bunch, Fantasy Island, Dallas and others, but his best-known work was done on the original series of Star Trek.

Born on April 6, 1931, Grindstaff attended the California Institute of the Arts and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. A life-long audio pro, Grindstaff went on to run sound departments at studios such as Paramount and Columbia, and served as president of the MPSE, which honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

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His editing Emmy wins were for variously for The Immortal; Medical Story; Police Story; Power; and Max Headroom.

While he was nominated in 1967 for his work on Star Trek, he didn’t win, and yet the sounds he created for the show are now indelibly marked in the annals of pop culture, ranging from the whirs of the Enterprise—doors opening (a squeaky shoe), the transporter and red alert signals—to the beeps of communicators, medical scanners and phasers, not to mention the purr of the infamous Tribbles (a manipulated dove’s coo).

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Grindstaff is survived by his wife, Marcia; five children; 16 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.