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Lionel Frederick Strutt 1936-2021
Friday, 14th January 2022
LIONEL FREDERICK STRUTT AMPS 1936 - 2021
The sound community was saddened to learn that AMPS Fellow Lionel Strutt passed away on 6th December 2021 at the age of 85. Lionel had a long and productive career in sound for film and television spanning over fifty years. Starting as a projectionist at age fifteen in the Odeon, Bognor Regis, then moving to the Rialto in London's Leicester Square, when he also attended Wandsworth College one day a week to learn about optics and sound. He was called up for National Service in the Royal Signals at Catterick Camp. As a Special Wireless Operator he learnt to read Morse code at thirty words a minute, which lead to a posting to Munich. When he left the service, he secured a projectionist job at Walton Studios. In the early sixties he moved to the Sound Department as a Sound Camera Operator at Star Sound Studios, Cavendish Square, followed by a position as a Second Assistant Dubbing Mixer at Twickenham Studios. The call of production sound led Lionel to a spell of freelancing, but when he married in 1963 a more stable income was necessary. So he took a job at The Gate Recording Studios, Borehamwood as First Assistant to Maurice Askew. It was during his ten years at The Gate that Lionel concentrated on his latter specialism - ADR, then known as 'Looping'. In 1973 The Gate closed, so for a time during a periodic slump in UK film production he earned a living driving minicabs. Back into the Dubbing Theatre saw a spell on the console with Paul Carr at Roger Cherrill's in Soho. There followed a period as a Production Sound Mixer including a memorable location in Libya. Lionel also recorded all the Foleys for 'The Shining' in Stanley Kubrick's garage.
At about this time Mayflower Preview Theatre had been converted into a Sound Studio and Lionel was hired to run the operation. He installed the Magna-Tech high speed film recording system known as ADR and Mayflower gained an impressive reputation for high quality dialogue replacement. Another innovation was Lionel's collaboration with Jeff Bloom resulting in the adoption of the first 'Wordfit' technology, software that can automatically adjust recorded dialogue to be in sync with the original. A comprehensive gallery of signed photographs adorned the Mayflower corridors with thanks, compliments and endorsements from many of the great names from the world of cinema.
In 1986 Lionel secured a management buyout of the Studio and it continued to prosper until 1993, when a covenant on the building required the site to be returned to residential property, so Mayflower closed. Forward to the year 2000, when Mayflower was reborn at a new venue in Soho. Once again Lionel was providing first class recording facilities for many grateful clients. He amassed numerous credits as ADR Supervisor and turned his hand to film production management and producing.
In parallel with his illustrious career, Lionel found time to devote his attention to AMPS (Association of Motion Picture Sound). As a founder member, he served on Council and held the offices of Secretary and Treasurer through the first fifteen years. He stood down from Council 2004 to allow more time for his other business. He was awarded an AMPS Fellowship in 2006 in recognition of his services to AMPS, and he continued his interest in all matters concerning the Association.
Lionel saw out his last years in a care home in London when his memory was failing. Always happy to share his experience and advice with aspiring sound technicians, this genial gentleman will be fondly remembered by many who had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and working with him.
Here is an interview recorded over 10 years ago of Lionel but recently uploaded for all to see