Former head of Fantasy Studios and the Saul Zaentz Film Center in Berkeley, Calif., Roy Segal passed away on July 15, 2005, from complications of Lewy Body Dementia. Segal was involved in many aspects of our industry — from engineering hit records to overseeing construction of world-class facilities.
Segal got his start in 1949 as a member of Local 1212 IBEW, installing telecom systems for the United Nations in New York (including running the P.A. in the delegates' conference rooms). At night, he learned remote recording (which would help in Academy Awards telecasts later on) at clubs and stage shows. In 1958, he joined Columbia Records, working his way up to engineer in the ‘60s and sitting behind the desk on projects for Big Brother & The Holding Company, Sly & The Family Stone, Laura Nyro and many others. In 1970, he moved to San Francisco, where he helped Columbia head Clive Davis open a studio (which became the legendary Automatt); later came engineering credits for Poco, Redbone, Dr. Hook and the Grateful Dead. When the famed studio closed in 1977, Segal took time to “go independent,” but a fortuitous phone call from friend Bill Belmont in 1980 led Segal to managing Fantasy Studios, where he helped equip Studio D (Neve 8108, Trident Series 80). Then, he upgraded the acoustics in A, B and C. Two years later, Segal was running the company's film division and commenced Act III. In his first two years at this position, the Film Center walked home with two Best Sound Oscars: one for The Right Stuff (1983) and the other for Amadeus (1984).
In 2000, Segal retired and moved to Palm Desert, Calif., with his wife.