Oscar-winning sound editor drowns

07:28, Dec 31 2012

Oscar winner Mike Hopkins, who drowned in a rafting accident yesterday, features on this video about sound editing for the Lord of Rings movies.

Hollywood sound editor and Oscar winner Mike Hopkins has been named as the Greytown man who died in a rafting accident in the Tararua Range.

Hopkins, 53, died after his inflatable raft flipped on the Waiohine River about 3pm yesterday.

He was found dead in the water by a rescue helicopter crew, downstream from his two companions, who were both recovered alive.

Rescue teams tried to revive Hopkins, pictured left, but it was too late. A male companion made it to safety and a woman was rescued two hours later by a jet boat crew.


Police said all three people were wearing life jackets, wetsuits and helmets at the time and it appeared that Hopkins had got into trouble after they were thrown from the raft in a fast flowing eddie.

Hopkins signed on as sound designer for Sir Peter Jackson's 1992 horror/comedy Braindead . It was the first of many films they made together over the next 20 years.

Hopkins was at Jackson's side during the making of Heavenly Creatures The Lord of The Rings trilogy and King Kong.

He won sound editing Oscars for his work on The Two Towers in 2003 and King Kong in 2006, along with American Ethan Van der Ryn.

The pair were also nominated for their work on the sci-fi box office hit Transformers in 2008.

Shortly after his nomination for the latter, Hopkins told The Dominion Post that Academy Awards were not the sort of thing he strived for, but it was nice to win them.

Hopkins has also been nominated for five British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards.