News

Remembering Douglas Grindstaff, 1931-2018

A+ A A-

StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Douglas Grindstaff, an Emmy Award-winning sound editor and designer whose many credits included Star Trek: The Original Series. Grindstaff died peacefully in Peoria, Arizona, on July 23, at the age of 87, his family confirmed.

Grindstaff teamed with Joseph Sorokin and Jack Finlay to deliver all of the memorable, often quirky, background sounds and effects viewers heard throughout the run of Star Trek: The Original Series. He did not win an Emmy for his Trek work, but earned a 1967 nomination in the Individual Achievements in Film and Sound Editing category for his efforts. The iconic sounds in which he had a hand included the red alert klaxon, bridge doors opening/closing, heartbeats, sickbay scanners, communicator beeps, phasers firing, transporter materialization/dematerialization, Tribble coos, boatswain whistles, etc.

Iconic noises from Star Trek TOS

Over the course of more than half a century, Grindstaff amassed 50-plus film and television credits. Among them were Mission: Impossible, The Brady Bunch, Cross Creek, Max Headroom, Dallas, and Knot’s Landing. He also served in combat as an army sergeant in during the Korean Conflict

“It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of Doug Grindstaff and his colleagues to the world of Star Trek,” Mike Okuda told StarTrek.com. “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.”

“Whenever I hear those multifarious hums and beeps of the Enterprise bridge,” Denise Okuda commented to StarTrek.com, “I’m instantly immersed in the world of the 23rd century, thanks to the genius of Doug Grindstaff.”

Grindstaff is survived by his wife Marcia, his children Marla Martinson, Chuck Grindstaff and Dan Grindstaff, Marcia’s children Dean Slawson, Felicia Grady and Eli Slawson, and a combined total of 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren (with more on the way).

Please join StarTrek.com in offering our condolences to Grindstaff’s family, friends, colleagues and fans.

Continue Reading Below