In December a TCM message board poster named Lorelei mentioned that she knew Robert Minkler, a sound mixer who had earned an Oscar for his work on one of the most popular movies ever made. Bob had recently passed away in Oregon, and I encouraged Lorelei to post some photos of her late friend, so he could be better remembered. I am re-posting those photos for this column, and I am also happy to say Lorelei put me in touch with Mrs. Minkler who was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her husband’s work and legacy.
Robert & Patricia Minkler, 1977
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions today. First of all, Patty, can you provide a bit of background. How did you and Bob first meet?
Bob and I met in Medford, Oregon in 1955 when his family moved there from California to open a TV store. I was in middle school. We remained best of friends throughout the years, both of us moving to California. Bob was travelling, singing and playing in various groups. He met and married his first wife JoAnn while playing in Las Vegas. They have three sons: Marcus, Christian and Daniel.
What sort of shows did Bob do on the road and in Vegas?
Bob travelled with Nat King Cole on Nat’s last road show. He sang the only solo in the program other than Nat himself.
That’s interesting. So how did Bob start working in sound?
Bob’s brother, Don, opened a sound studio around this time. Bob and his other brother Lee went to work there as sound mixers. (Their father Darrell was also in the sound business.) Bob continued as a sound mixer and began working as an independent contractor in film and on television shows.
I assume when he was working in Hollywood, that is when you crossed paths again.
Yes. His marriage had broken up and at the time, I was working at several movie studios. We saw each other often, and eventually rekindled our friendship, and we married.
Lovely. Can you tell me what sort of awards Bob received for his work in sound. I know he received an Oscar for his work on STAR WARS (creating the sound for the light saber). Were there other honors?
Well, Bob received several awards for his talent as a sound mixer. The academy award, the LYRA, and the Golden Reel, to name a few. He told me many times he had the best career ever doing sound for film and television. and he felt the awards confirmed to him he had helped bring the beauty of sound to the public.
What a great way to look at it. Eventually, you both left Hollywood. What happened next?
We retired to the Oregon Coast where Bob continued singing and playing music and being the most loving, tender, and caring man I know.
Thank you, Patty, for sharing some of your memories about your husband Bob Minkler. It’s been a pleasure learning more about him. Lorelei mentioned to me that the Academy will be including Bob in its annual In Memoriam segment this year. We’ll be sure to watch for it.
From the files of Robert Minkler:
Born: Aug 31, 1937 in Glendale, CA
Graduated: 1954, from Medford High School in Medford, OR
1954-1964: Professional musician on the road
1958: First I.A.T.S.E. job (machine operator) Glen Glenn Sound Hollywood, CA
1964: Began full time as recordist at Producers Sound Service in Hollywood
1966-1969: Re-Recording mixer – Producers Sound Service in Hollywood
1970-1973: Supervising Mixer for all CBS-TV and Mary Tyler Moore (MTM) product at CBS TV Center in Studio City, CA
1974-2015: Independent contractor, various studios and projects
Accredited studios as Re-Recording Mixer: Producer’s Sound Service; Samuel Goldwyn Studios; Glen Glenn Sound; Lions Gate; Todd-A-O; Lorimar; CBS Studio Center; Disney Studios; and Universal Studios.
Academy Award for best soundtrack on STAR WARS
British Film Academy Award for best soundtrack on STAR WARS
Golden Reel Award– 3-time honoree for STAR WARS; THE BLACK STALLION; and TRON.
Academy Award nomination for TRON
LYRA award for TRON
Emmy nomination for Best soundtrack in daytime television for The Muppet Babies
Bob Minkler worked on the following classic motion pictures:
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
THE BLACK STALLION
DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY
DRIVE, HE SAID
FIVE EASY PIECES
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5
KING OF MARVIN GARDENS
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW
LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER
TWO LANE BLACKTOP
WHAT’S UP DOC?And he worked on these series:
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Bob Newhart Show
Laverne and Shirley
Little House on the Prairie
Simon and Simon
In the Heat of the Night
Plus numerous made for television movies