Douglas Shearer

Douglas Shearer, sound engineer, special effects artist (born 17 November 1899 in Montréal, QC; died 5 January 1971 in Culver City, CA).

Douglas Shearer

Douglas Shearer, sound engineer, special effects artist (born 17 November 1899 in Montréal, QC; died 5 January 1971 in Culver City, California). Douglas Shearer studied physics and engineering at McGill University but left in the mid 1920s after visiting his sister, MGM star Norma Shearer, in Los Angeles. He started working there and founded the MGM sound department in 1927. He was the studio's leading technical researcher until his retirement in 1968.

Shearer was responsible for developing a revolutionary recording head at the dawn of the sound era. He is also credited with designing sound systems for theatres, and with making advancements in cameras and film processing. During his more than 40 years with MGM, he contributed more than anyone to the perfection of motion picture sound. He also worked on improving sonar capabilities for the Allied Forces during the Second World War.

Shearer won seven Oscars for sound recording and special effects, and received eight more for technical achievements in addition to 14 other nominations, making him the most honoured Canadian by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2008.