George Groves - Oscar Winning Liverpool University Alumni

The Liverpool University graduate, who went on to become a three-time Oscar winner.

George Groves was born on 13th December 1901 over his father's barbershop on Duke Street in St. Helens. Taking up numerous instruments at an early age, George often played the cornet in the town's Theatre Royal.

After attending local primary and secondary schools, George gained a place at Liverpool University to study Engineering and Telephony. After graduating in 1922, within a year George set sail to New York in a bid to gain employment.

Once stateside, George landed a job at Bell Laboratories as part of the research team who were developing film sound technology. In 1925 Warner Brothers bought the Bell system and created the Vitaphone Corporation. Within a year George was given a job at Vitaphone and landed the task of recording the soundtrack for the 1926 film Don Juan.

For Don Juan, George decided to use a multi-microphone technique and performed a live mix of the orchestra to be used on the soundtrack. In doing this, George became the first music mixer in film history.

The next film George was to work on was The Jazz Singer in 1927, which would become revolutionary in the history of cinema. The Jazz Singer was the first feature film to use synchronized dialogue and was the film that kick-started the phenomenon of the 'talkies'.

Throughout his forty-six year tenure at Warner Brothers George pioneered several sound techniques to be used throughout he film industry. In total he won three Oscars for Best Sound work on the films Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Sayonara (1957) and My Fair Lady (1964). Overall, George worked on an astonishing thirty-two films that received Academy Award nominations for Best Sound.

George finally rose to the position of Director of Sound at Warner Brothers in 1957 and come his retirement in 1972 he was rewarded the Samuel L. Warner memorial award by the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.

George sadly died on 4th September 1976 aged 74.

In 1993 George's sister, Hilda Barrow, began a campaign for the official recognition in the United Kingdom of the pioneering work her brother did. As a result of Hilda's campaign two plaques were unveiled to commemorate the work of George Groves.

If you would like to read more about the life and work of George Groves and Hilda's campaign follow this link:



By Matthew Matthew

This story was added on 4th November 2010

See all of Matthew's stories

More Stories