Founder of Dolby Laboratories Dies at age 80

The audio world has lost a true pioneer in Dr. Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories died yesterday, September 12,  in San Francisco at the age of 80.  Dr. Dolby had been living with Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years, and was diagnosed in July of this year with acute leukemia. 

A tribute to Dr. Dolby is available on the Dolby web site.
Audio enthusiasts like myself all benefitted from Dr. Dolby’s work in the audio world.  Whether it was helping to cut down noise in cassettes, which was my first memory of the Dolby brand, to contributions in the cinema world, we all owe a great deal of thanks to Dr. Dolby’s work in the audio world.

Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and created an environment where scientists and engineers continue to advance the science of sight and sound to make entertainment and communications more engaging. Dr. Dolby’s pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the development of many state-of-the-art technologies, for which he holds more than 50 U.S. patents.

“Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary,” said Kevin Yeaman, President and CEO, Dolby Laboratories. “Ray Dolby founded the company based on a commitment to creating value through innovation and an impassioned belief that if you invested in people and gave them the tools for success they would create great things. Ray’s ideals will continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation for us all.”

“My father was a thoughtful, patient and loving man, determined to always do the right thing in business, philanthropy, and as a husband and father,” said David Dolby, son and member of Dolby Laboratories’ Board of Directors. “Our family is very proud of his achievements and leadership. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.”

Dr. Dolby was known for his insatiable curiosity and attributed his success to a quest for education fostered by supportive parents. Early in Dr. Dolby’s career, while attending high school on the San Francisco Peninsula and then Stanford University, he worked at Ampex Corporation and was the chief designer of all electronic aspects of the first practical videotape recording system. Today, Dolby Laboratories’ technologies are an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, who continue to use Dolby tools to bring their visions to life.

“Though he was an engineer at heart, my father’s achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts,” said Tom Dolby, son, filmmaker, and novelist. “He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording.”

In the 48 years since Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories, the company has transformed the entertainment experience from the cinema to the living room to mobile entertainment. Tens of thousands of films and billions of products and devices with Dolby technologies have made their way to theaters, homes and consumers’ hands around the world. The industry has awarded Dolby Laboratories with 10 Academy Awards and 13 Emmy Awards for its groundbreaking achievements throughout the years.

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