At 72 years old, Ed Phillips, who helped start Matthews Studio Equipment (MSE) in 1969 and presided as President for nearly 50 years, died Saturday, June 22nd. The cause of death was not reported by his family.
He had an active career defining grip standards and developing new products; and innovating to standardize the gear used on set. Ed began his film industry career on the backlot of Universal Studios pulling cable and operating machines. He built Matthews Studio Equipment alongside original founder, Roy Isaia, before teaming up with Carlos DeMattos in 1974 to form Matthews Studio Equipment Group.
In the early 70s, he saw the need to unify lighting and rigging standards in Grip and Electric departments, creating the Combo Head and Combo Stand to serve both. Over the past five decades in partnership with inventors and other industry leaders, Ed lead Matthews through innovations such as the Cam Remote Head, the Tulip Crane, the Vator Cranking Stands, and the MAX Menace Arm.
In 1998, Ed purchased the manufacturing arm of Matthews out of the larger Group, continuing his efforts to improve the grip, lighting and camera support industry; and making Matthews into what it is today.
In the recently published obituary, Matthews states that as a result of Ed’s leadership, Matthews Studio Equipment was honored with two Presidential “E” Award for outstanding contributions in growing U.S. exports, strengthening the economy, and creating American jobs. His focus on product innovation led to three Scientific and Technical Academy Awards, as well as two Emmy awards.
Ed leaves behind his wife Norma; daughters Emily, Julie and Jamie; and son Tyler, current President of MSE, who is continuing the family-owned and operated legacy of the company. A memorial service for Ed will be held at 5 p.m. on June 29th, 2019 at Hollywood Forest Lawn Cemetery at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful if you would honor his legacy by making a contribution in his name to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. He was deeply connected to Providence Saint Joseph’s as a member of their Board of Governors, actively campaigning on behalf of the hospital and the local community.
Please direct contributions to Amy Montes at 501 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91505, [email protected] or 818-847-4674