An associate member of the ASC, the co-founder and president of Matthews Studio Equipment died at the age of 72 on Saturday, June 22.
Longtime motion-picture industry grip equipment innovator Ed Phillips started his career at Universal Studios and later working for M.G.M. and Fox, CBS and Paramount Desilu — pulling plenty of cable and working with the heavy and cumbersome stands, supports and other equipment of the day.
Entrepreneurial, Phillips launched his first company, WAYNCO, which produced lightweight arc fixtures. After selling his outfit in 1971, he joined the recently launched company Matthews Studio Equipment, founded by friend Roy Isaia in 1968.
MSE was expanding, and would soon become a one-stop shop for the studios seeking new, lightweight gear for the increasing amount of location work that was happening at the time. Their equipment line included spring-loaded C-stands, combo (combination) stands, roller stands, scissor track, collapsible overhead frames, beefy baby stands, junior and senior stands, doorway dollies and numerous camera mounts.
In 1974, Isaia sold his interest in MSE to Phillips and partner Carlos DeMattos, and they would continue to innovate, bringing to market such items as the Cam Remote system and the Tulip folding crane. Some of their most recent products include the C-Stand Shoulder KitBag, C-Stand Rolling KitBag, the Dutti Dock camera docking sled, and the Centipede II compact dolly.
In time, the company would be honored with two awards for technical achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and one from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Phillips’ son Tyler is today the vice president of product development and marketing at the Burbank, California-based MSE.