The Fugitive producer Peter Macgregor-Scott has been tapped to present the Motion Picture Editors Guild’s prestigious MPEG Fellowship and Service Award to honoree, re-recording mixer Donald O. Mitchell, Oct. 5, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. The Fellowship and Service Award was established seven years ago by the guild to recognize an individual who embodies the values that the guild holds most dear – professionalism, collaboration, mentorship, generosity of spirit and a commitment to the labor movement.
Macgregor-Scott was co-producer on The Fugitive and produced Batman Forever, both of which garnered Mitchell Oscar nominations for best sound from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The pair also collaborated on Under Siege and Batman & Robin.
After starting his career working in the sound department at Pinewood Studios, Macgregor-Scott moved to the United States from England in 1970, and immediately began work on the Philippines-shot Ride the Tiger. Working his way up through the ranks, Macgregor-Scott worked on such hit comedies as Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, The Jerk, Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. In 1993, he produced The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford.
Mitchell began his four-and-a-half decade career in the film and TV industry at 20th Century Fox as a draughtsman in 1955. Moving into the sound department, he loaded mag dubbers, handled recording duties and performed some engineering functions. One day, his boss told him, “You’re mixing dialog today.” And that was the beginning of his career in sound.
His first film at Fox, The Paper Chase, garnered him his first of 14 nominations from AMPAS. Mitchell’s resume contains 120 films that span a career as a re-recording mixer that began in 1973 and ended in 1998, the year of his retirement. In 1989, he won the Academy Award with fellow mixers Gregg Rudloff and Elliott Tyson for best sound for Edward Zwick’s Glory. He has also been nominated 13 more times in the same category for The Paper Chase (1973), Silver Streak (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983), Silverado (1985), A Chorus Line (1985), Top Gun (1986), Black Rain (1989), Days of Thunder (1990), Under Siege (1992), The Fugitive (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994) and Batman Forever (1995). Mitchell’s work on The Fugitive also earned him a BAFTA Award for sound and a CAS award for outstanding achievement in sound mixing for a feature film.
As a re-recording mixer, Mitchell was a member of IATSE Local 695, the sound technicians local. Less than a year before his retirement in November 1998, he and his fellow postproduction mixers in 695 were brought into the Editors Guild. An active member of the AMPAS sound branch executive committee for a number of years, Mitchell served three terms on its board of governors and, with sound editor Kay Rose, he successfully advocated to keep the sound editing and mixing awards as part of the televised Academy Awards when there was a proposal to move them to the non-televised Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony.
Mitchell, an avid sailor, is enjoying his retirement and his 50-foot fiberglass-bodied boat, the Orion, which he built in his backyard in the San Fernando Valley during his spare time over a period of 20 years.