It is with profound regret that I share with you the sad news of the passing of Harold W. Varney—“Bill,” a 31-year member of IATSE Local 695. Bill distinguished himself unequivocally as an Academy Award–winning sound mixer, having received Oscars for best sound recording on The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark(1981).
Bill also received Oscar nominations for Dune (1984) and Back to the Future (1985), as well as an Emmy Award nomination for the TV series Roots (1977). Bill’s sound recording credits are extensive.
In addition to his significant Industry awards, Bill also served as President of the Cinema Audio Society in 1977 and Vice President of Sound Operations for Universal Studios Pictures.
Bill also led the sound restoration efforts on the Orson Wells 1958 film movie classic Touch of Evil, relying on state-of-the-art digital recording to enhance the clarity of the original 40-year old production recordings.
Bill’s professional advocacy for direct lines of communication between the production mixer and the post-production mixer had a profound effect and resulted in procedures that yielded cost savings for all involved.
Those of us who were fortunate to have worked with Bill during his 14 years employed at Samuel Goldwyn Studios Sound Operations , knew Bill as a professional in every sense of the word and a person having profound compassion both for his support recording team and his family. In simple terms, Bill was without question a wonderful person and shall always be remembered for his presence, compassion and contributions.