Long-time Live Audio and Communications Expert Larry Estrin Dead; Funeral to be Held Tomorrow in Simi Valley
Long-time industry audio expert Larry Estrin, a man who has arguably been as important as anyone to the development of wireless communication systems related to sports, major live events, and television, passed away on Sept. 19 of kidney and liver failure. For the past five years he was full time with Clear-Com as head of the Global Rental Group while also consultant for Audio-Technica since 2006. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 22 at Mount Sinai Simi Valley, 6150 Mount Sinai Dr., Simi Valley, CA.
“For all of us at Clear-Com, working with Larry was a great pleasure as well as a direct link to a lot of the important developments in the industry overall,” says Bob Boster, Clear-Com, president. “He was one of those guys who always had a story or a contact to pass on which enriched every discussion, and his willingness to share with all of us regardless of age or experience was one of his hallmarks.”
Estrin’s career began in 1960 when he co-founded Hollywood Sound Systems. Then in 1969 he began a three-year stint serving as road manager for “The Don Ho Show.”
Estrin’s career was highlighted by a number of firsts: in 1973 he was involved with Elvis Aloha to the World from Hawaii, the first live multi-satellite global broadcast of a major concert. In 1974 he conceived and designed the first referee wireless mic system for the NFL (he also managed production, broadcast, media, and stadium audio and communications for 19 consecutive Super Bowls). In 1975 and 1976 he was the first audio design consultant for Saturday Night Live and in 1976 he also created the audio speaker cart system that was used by Kate Smith during the pre-game of the Rose Bowl game (a system in use for decades on major sporting events). He founded Best Audio in 1980 where he would work alongside Peter Erskine for more than three decades. And in 1984 he was involved with the first live event broadcast of an Olympics Opening Ceremonies in stereo (the Los Angeles Olympics).
But, most importantly, he developed the standards for the dual/redundant/diverse paths that are the physical backbone of wired and wireless communication and audio systems that are the mainstay of major events like the Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl, and even every U.S. Presidential debate since 1988. He was also technical director for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
“I have known Larry for many years,” says Tom Sahara, SVG Advisory Board Chairman and Turner Sports VP of Operations and Technology. “I came a few years after him with Don Ho and we shared many stories of working with Don. He was someone I could throw ideas at and he always gave me great insight and advice. I will miss him dearly.”
And among his many honors was the Civilian Service Medal, awarded by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 for his work with the USO during Operation Desert Storm (he also volunteered to work on 12 Bob Hope Overseas Tours from 1972-1993).
“For the industry as a whole it has to be said that Larry is one of those people who stressed the centrality of comms for certain kind of events which has subsequently transformed all sorts of live event and live broadcast activities like opening and closing ceremonies, awards shows, and more,” says Boster. “The general audience as a whole has a lot to thank Larry for in the vibrancy and tightness of these kinds of events because comms allows them to go off like clockwork.”