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Douglas Shearer

From Academic Kids

Douglas G. Shearer (November 17, 1899 - January 5, 1971) was a pioneer sound designer and director who played a key role in the advancement of sound technology for motion pictures.

Shearer was born in Montreal, Quebec to a prominent upper class family, but his family fell on hard times after his father's business failed and ultimately it led to his parents separating. Douglas remained with his father in Montreal while his two younger sisters, Norma and Athole moved to New York City with their mother.

Unable to afford university, Douglas Shearer left school, working at a variety of jobs until he visited his sisters who by then had relocated to Hollywood, California in the early 1920s. Deciding to remain there, he found a job at MGM Studios and began to pursue his interest in the creation of sound in film. This interest lead to a forty year association with the film business in which he was a significant innovator in the development and perfecting of sound technology in motion pictures. One of his many contributions included the development of a sophisticated recording system that eliminated unwanted background noise during sound recording. Over his long career, Douglas Shearer was nominated for an Academy Award a total of twenty-one times, winning seven times for Sound and Special Effects. In 1955, he was appointed MGM's director of technical research and by the time he retired in 1968 he had won an additional seven Scientific or Technical Academy Awards.

Douglas Shearer died in Culver City, California. Some of the citations he earned over his illustrious career were:

Academy Award for Sound (Wins):

Academy Award for Best Special Effects (Wins):


Academy Award for Sound (Nominations):


Academy Award for Best Special Effects (Nominations):


See also: Other Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood

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