Robert Guenette, co-founder of the Intl. Documentary Assn., died Oct. 31 in Los Angeles of brain cancer. He was 68.
Guenette was an Emmy and DGA award-winning documentary filmmaker. Born in Holyoke, Mass., he started his career in New York working on dubbing scripts and then on news programs such as “ABC Close-Up,” CBS’ “Eyewitness to History” and NBC’s “White Papers.” His 1962 “Our War in Vietnam” was one of the first documentaries on the conflict. His docu “The Hungry Americans” brought Appalachian famine to the nation’s attention.
Starting in 1972, he produced several historical docudramas for David L. Wolper, including “They’ve Killed President Lincoln, “The Crucifixion of Jesus,” and “The Plot to Murder Hitler” as well as “Victory at Entebbe” with Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1985, he and Bill Graham produced the first outdoor rock concert in the Soviet Union for Showtime — “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Summit.” His “Making of Star Wars” and “Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark” were among the first “making of” shows to be shown on television. He also produced or directed “William Faulkner’s Mississippi,” “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow” about Nostradamus and “Monsters! Mysteries or Myths?”
When working on the documentary “Children of the Night,” he became interested in non-profit work, and in 1994, co-founded the Los Angeles Media & Education Center to introduce young people to documentary and theater work.
He also worked on two millennium docu shows, “Celebrate the Century” for CNN and “Legends, Icons and Superstars of the 20th Century” for Discover.
He is survived by a son, five siblings and his longtime collaborator Robert Leeburg.
Donations may be made in his name to peace organization Not in Our Name. A celebration of his life will be held Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. at 1551 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles.