Robert Livingston Pell, co-founder of the Adirondack Film Society and member of the family who restored and operates Fort Ticonderoga, died of liver cancer Feb. 3 in Burlington, Vt. He was 69.
Pell, who had homes in the Adirondacks and Long Island, served as vice president of the Adirondack Film Society since its 1999 inception. The group organizes the annual Lake Placid Film Forum, which has attracted such names as director Robert Downey Sr. and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Irving.
In 1820, Pell’s ancestor, New York City businessman William Pell, bought the land between Lake George and Lake Champlain that held the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga, a National Historical Landmark still operated by the family. Pell’s cousin restored the fort and opened it to the public in 1909. About 100,000 people visit annually.
Robert Pell served as a board member of the nonprofit association, which runs the 2,000-acre landmark, for the past 20 years. He recently made a “major financial contribution.” Edward Pell declined to say how much his brother donated.
Robert Pell, a New York City native, moved to the Adirondack High Peaks in the late 1970s. He also had a home in Baldwin, Nassau County, where his wife taught school.
After graduating from Princeton University in 1956, Pell served in the military for two years, worked for the New York Times two years, then joined the U.S. Agency for International Development, a humanitarian government agency, in Vietnam.
Later,Pell worked in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Healso served as a director for the Central Park Conservancy and consultant for the New York Historical Society in New York City. Pell is survived by his wife, a brother and his mother.