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Robert J. Heiber

BA 1973, Communication – Radio, TV, & Film

Vice President Audio, Chace Audio, Burbank, CA

When you pop in a DVD of a classic movie to unwind over the weekend, you might just have a Purdue grad to thank for the fantastic sound of some of your favorite old films. Bob Heiber is Vice President of Audio for Deluxe Media Services at Chace Audio by Deluxe, a group that specializes in the restoration and remastering of motion picture sound tracks, including those for films like West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Patton. Heiber has been involved in film sound preservation and restoration since he joined the company in 1990, and as president of the board for The Rick Chace Foundation, named after the company’s founder, he has helped produce the series A Century of Sound: The History of Sound in Motion Pictures with the UCLA Film and Television Archive. But one of his personal experiences with film history also stands out when he thinks of his career.

“In 1988 I was working as an operations manager for Warner Bros. at the former Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Hollywood,” he recalls. “I was responsible for setting up the editing rooms, and one project was the restoration of Lawrence of Arabia, a personal favorite. One day when I visited the editing room, I saw Anne V. Coates, the film’s editor, with a rather elderly gentleman. She then introduced him as David Lean, the film’s director. Little did I know that in my next job at Chace Audio, I would end up supervising the remastering of the film’s soundtrack for both DVD and Blu-ray release in the late 1990s and 2000s.”

Purdue Influences

I had three professors in the Radio-TV-Film School who really helped cement my desire to work in the field: Richard “Dick” Forsythe for a radio production/broadcasting course, Karl Lohmann, Jr., for 16mm film production, and Marvin Diskin for TV production. They really gave me the bug to get into the business.

Purdue Memories

My dorm was Owen Hall, so in the winter, “borrowing” a tray from the cafeteria (each dorm had its own dining area then) and sledding down the hill at Slayter Center was a lot of fun. We managed not to get killed, though it’s very hard to steer a cafeteria tray!

Purdue Now

Purdue has a great reputation for putting skilled students into the world and their accomplishments are substantial. This legacy is something that every graduate is part of. 

Greatest Achievement

Without a doubt it was finding the right life partner, my wife, and being smart enough to marry her and raise two great children. For my career, I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of the top filmmakers and professionals in the motion picture industry, which enabled me to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Living Person I Admire

I admire every person who has the courage to overcome physical or mental challenges that I would find insurmountable and pursue a meaningful life. These are the real heroes.

Idea of Perfect Happiness

Every happy is perfect happy. But I also never turn down an opportunity to ski in fresh powder. (Editor’s note: See the proof in the photo above of Bob skiing the Daly Chutes at Deer Valley in Utah.)

What I’m Reading

We are visiting Africa this summer, so to get some context I just finished reading White Dog Fell from the Sky by Eleanor Morse, about Botswana and South Africa in 1976. I’m also reading Dean King’s Skeletons on the Zahara, an incredible true story of American shipwreck survivors off the west coast of Africa in 1815, and what they had to overcome to win back their freedom. I hope we have a better trip.

Profession I’d Like to Try

I began my career as an industrial filmmaker in Chicago, filming heavy construction equipment for sales and training films. I always wanted to operate one of the massive front-end loaders and dig big holes.