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Frank Serafine, sound designer on Tron and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, killed in car accident

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Sep 15, 2018

Frank Serafine, innovative sound designer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and TRON, was killed in a car accident in Palmdale, California at the age of 65, reports The Antelope Valley Times

According to the Palmdale Police Department, Serafine was struck by a 2014 Audi in the morning of Wednesday, Sep. 12, while standing near the driver's side of his own car, a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Thrown through the air, Serafine suffered serious trauma to his body and head, only to be pronounced dead on the scene. The Audi driver did not sustain any injuries, but was taken to a hospital, so that blood could be taken and tested for drugs or alcohol. 

Serafine began working as a musician in the late 1970s, hired (along with his Colorado-based band) to play the grand opening of Disneyland's Space Mountain at the attraction's pavillion in 1977. They played seven nights a week, performing a jazzy take on Gustav Holst's "The Planets" suite. 

"It was the year that Star Wars came out, so it was a big, big, big year for space," he once remarked in an interview. 

Serafine's sound engineering career in Hollywood began in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music). From there, he went to work on a number of genre projects like John Carpenter's The Fog, Steven Lisberger's TRON, Douglas Trumbull's Brainstorm, John Badham's Short Circuit, Stan Winston's Pumpkinhead, and Barry Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family

He was also hired on subsequent sequels to some of those classics: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Short Circuit 2 (1988), and even TRON: Legacy (2010). 

"I love to sit in the theater during my films to just watch and observe how sound triggers the emotional responses and physiologically effects to our listening audience," Serafine wrotes on his official website

As an accomplished composer and musician, Serafine worked with a number of famous musicians such as Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, Andy Summers, Peter Gabriel and Don Cherry. 

Serafine ran his own studio, providing a number of sound-based services for the entertainment industry, including: sound mixing, re-recording, ADR, field recording, foley recording, dialogue recording, and sound supervision.