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Gerald J. Christian

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:43 am

Gerald J. Christian: November 19, 1925 - May 26, 2012

Gerald J. Christian, who headed the sound effects department at Universal Studios, and who was an avid golfer and fitness enthusiast, died Saturday, May 26th. He was 86 years old. Jerry, as his friends called him, died after a year-long illness, at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank. His wife of 47 years, Nan, was at his bedside.

He worked at Universal for 42 years, receiving an Emmy for film sound editing for “Duel,” Steven Spielberg’s first feature film in 1971, which was first released as a Movie of the Week. Jerry Christian created and oversaw the sound effects for many other movies, including another Spielberg classic, “Jaws.” He worked with Alfred Hitchcock on “Psycho” and “The Birds.” A few of the TV shows include, “Dragnet,” “Columbo,” and “Knight Rider.”

Universal was not only where he enjoyed his successful career, it was where he met his wife as well. Jerry and Nan made their home in Toluca Lake for 40 years. They also spent time at their home in Coronado for sailing and relaxation. In retirement, Jerry loved golf and getting up at five most mornings to meet friends for a workout at the gym.  

Gerald Christian served in the Navy in WWII in the Pacific Theatre. As a young man, he obtained his private pilot’s license. He enjoyed Dixieland Jazz. He was born November 19, 1925 in Quincy, Illinois. His parents were Alice Yates, who was a cousin of Mark Twain, and Benton Christian, a cousin of Alexander Graham Bell.  In addition to his wife, Jerry is survived by his son, Robert of Portland, OR, his brother, Bill of Montrose, and sisters Dorothy Kanowsky of Newport Beach, CA and Rosetta Neff of North Carolina.

He is also survived by grandchildren Maxwell and Caitlin as well as nephews, nieces, and countless friends who loved him.

No services are planned at Jerry’s request. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

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