Richard Portman

Richard Portman

Los Angeles, California
April 02
Date of passing: 
January 28, 2017






Richard Portman was a sound mixer who was best known for his work on dozens of acclaimed feature films from the 1970s through the early 2000s, including The Godfather, Nashville and Star Wars. He received 11 Oscar nominations and won once, for the 1978 release The Deer Hunter. He also received two Emmy Award nominations for his televison work.

The Los Angeles native was the son of Clem Portman, an Oscar-nominated sound artist whose credits included such classic films as King Kong, Citizen Kane and It's a Wonderful Life, as well as the televison drama The Fugitive. In 1957, following service in the U.S. Marines, Richard Portman broke into the entertainment business, with help from his father, at Columbia Pictures. He went on to spend several years at Samuel Goldwyn.

In the 1970s he worked at Robert Altman's Lion's Gate productions and collaborated with Altman on Nashville and several of his other films, including California Split, 3 Women, A Wedding and Quintet. He was an important contributor to creating the overlapping dialogue style associated with Altman's oeuvre.

In addition to the films mentioned above, his other big-screen credits included Paper Moon, The Day of the Dolphin, Kotch, Young Frankenstein, Coal Miner's Daughter, Funny Lady, Little Big Man, Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Splash, L.A. Story and many others.

Although he worked in television less frequently, he worked on some acclaimed productions, including Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, In the Heat of the Night, Pals and Tales from the Crypt. He received his Emmy nominations for Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years and Citizen Cohn.

In 1995 Portman joined the faculty at Florida State University, where he helped to launch the school's film program.

Portman died on January 28, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida. He was 82.