Someone You Should Know: Richard Portman

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

How many people do you know in Tallahassee who have an academy award sitting on their mantle? Richard Portman does. He's been a part of more than 200 feature films. Movies like the Godfather, On Golden Pond, and The Deer Hunter. The latter is what that Golden Statue is for. An academy award for best sound in Deer Hunter. An award Portman says was long overdue.

"I said, it's about time. It's about time. I have 11 nominations. That was the first thing out of my mouth. It's about time."

Since 1957, Portman has gone from a trainee at Columbia Pictures to one of the most respected sound men in the business. These days, he's a teacher at Florida State, but his road to success began at a young age.

"I became the leading sound recording mixer in Hollywood. I took over the top chair and gee, it was quite an adventure."

That adventure won Portman a British Academy Award for best sound in Robert Altman's Nashville....

"I was very good. I know how to do it. Believe me, I can turn the knob."

His journey has allowed Portman to rub elbows with stars like Barbara Streisdand, Al Pacino, and Marlon Brando. The stories go forever, but the one about the Godfather always makes Richard laugh.

"Marlon Brando was replacing dialogue and he pulled up, opened the door and fell out of the car on the ground. He was so drunk and couldn't get up and he staggered to the looping stage and did all the loops without a problem. No more than 1 take."


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