September 12, 2013
Founder and Director Emeritus of Dolby Laboratories Dies at Age 80
Inventor and Visionary Revolutionized the Experience of Sound
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Dolby Laboratories (DLB) today announced that Ray Dolby, an American
inventor recognized around the world for developing groundbreaking audio
technologies, died today at his home in San Francisco, at the age of 80.
Dr. Dolby had been living with Alzheimer's Disease in recent years, and
was diagnosed in July of this year with acute leukemia.
Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and created an environment
where scientists and engineers continue to advance the science of sight
and sound to make entertainment and communications more engaging. Dr.
Dolby's pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the
development of many state-of-the-art technologies, for which he holds
more than 50 U.S. patents.
"Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary," said Kevin Yeaman,
President and CEO, Dolby Laboratories. "Ray Dolby founded the company
based on a commitment to creating value through innovation and an
impassioned belief that if you invested in people and gave them the
tools for success they would create great things. Ray's ideals will
continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation for us all."
"My father was a thoughtful, patient and loving man, determined to
always do the right thing in business, philanthropy, and as a husband
and father," said David Dolby, son and member of Dolby Laboratories'
Board of Directors. "Our family is very proud of his achievements and
leadership. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of innovation will
Dr. Dolby was known for his insatiable curiosity and attributed his
success to a quest for education fostered by supportive parents. Early
in Dr. Dolby's career, while attending high school on the San Francisco
Peninsula and then Stanford University, he worked at Ampex Corporation
and was the chief designer of all electronic aspects of the first
practical videotape recording system. Today, Dolby Laboratories'
technologies are an essential part of the creative process for recording
artists and filmmakers, who continue to use Dolby tools to bring their
visions to life.
"Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in
technology grew out of a love of music and the arts," said Tom Dolby,
son, filmmaker, and novelist. "He brought his appreciation of the
artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording."
In the 48 years since Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories, the company
has transformed the entertainment experience from the cinema to the
living room to mobile entertainment. Tens of thousands of films and
billions of products and devices with Dolby technologies have made their
way to theaters, homes and consumers' hands around the world. The
industry has awarded Dolby Laboratories with 10 Academy Awards and 13
Emmy Awards for its groundbreaking achievements throughout the years.
Among Dr. Dolby's awards and honors are:
The National Medal of Technology from President Clinton (1997)
The Order of Officer of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen
Elizabeth II (1987)
Honorary Doctorate — of Science (Cambridge University 1997)
Honorary Doctorate (University of York 1999)
Dr. Dolby was awarded the following industry awards:
Oscar statuette from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Oscar Class II (plaque) from A.M.P.A.S. (1979)
Several Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences, including for the invention of the Ampex® video tape
recorder and his work for Dolby Laboratories. (1989, 2005)
Grammy from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
Berlin Film Festival Berlinale Kamera Award (2012)
San Francisco Film Society George Gund III Award (2013)
Dr. Dolby also received medals from the following professional
Audio Engineering Society (AES) Silver (1971) and Gold
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Edison Medal
As a former Marshall Scholar, Dr. Dolby was also awarded the George C.
Marshall Award in 2003. He was inducted into the National Inventors
Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Royal Academy of Engineers
in the UK in 2004.
In 2012, the iconic Hollywood landmark known to the world as the home of
the Academy Awards was renamed the Dolby® TheatreSM and the
site of the post-Oscars gala was renamed the Ray Dolby Ballroom in honor
of Dr. Dolby.
Together Dr. Dolby and his wife, Dagmar, were active in philanthropy and
supported numerous causes and organizations. In recent years, two
centers of science, research and patient care opened with their support,
the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building at the
University of San Francisco's Stem Cell Center and the Brain Health
Center at California Pacific Medical Center.
"Ray was generous, patient, intellectually honest and fair-minded.
Forever curious, unafraid and oh so persistent, whether we were driving
overland from India, flying his planes across the Atlantic or driving
the big bus around the National Parks, he not only gave us an exciting
life, but was a fantastic role model for our sons," said Dagmar Dolby,
Dr. Dolby's wife of 47 years.
Ray Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon in January 1933 and his family
eventually moved to the San Francisco Peninsula. From 1949 to 1957, he
worked on various audio and instrumentation projects at Ampex
Corporation where he led the development of the electronic aspects of
the Ampex® videotape recording system. In 1957, he received a BS degree
in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Upon being awarded a
Marshall Scholarship and a National Science Foundation graduate
fellowship, Dr. Dolby left Ampex for further study at Cambridge
University in England. In 1960, Dr. Dolby became the first American to
be named a Fellow at Pembroke College. Dr. Dolby received a PhD degree
in physics from Cambridge in 1961 and years later was elected an
Honorary Fellow (1983). While at Cambridge he met his wife, Dagmar, who
was there as a summer student in 1962. During his last year at
Cambridge, Dr. Dolby also served as a consultant to the United Kingdom
Atomic Energy Authority.
In 1963, Dr. Dolby took up a two-year appointment as a United Nations
advisor in India, and then returned to England in 1965 and founded Dolby
Laboratories in London. In 1976, he moved to San Francisco where the
company established its headquarters, laboratories, and manufacturing
Dr. Dolby is survived by his wife, Dagmar, his sons, Tom and David,
their spouses, Andrew and Natasha, and four grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations are made to the
Alzheimer's Association, 1060 La Avenida Street, Mountain View, CA
94043, or the Brain Health Center, c/o CPMC Foundation, 45 Castro
Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.
The following materials are available for download at the following link:
Quotes by and about Ray Dolby
About Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) creates audio, video and voice
technologies that transform entertainment and communications in mobile
devices, at the cinema, at home, and at work. For nearly 50 years, sight
and sound experiences have become more vibrant, clear and meaningful in
Dolby. For more information please visit dolby.com.
Sean Durkin, Dolby Labs, 415-645-5176
Source: Dolby Laboratories
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