Guenette, Robert (Homer) 1935-2003
GUENETTE, Robert (Homer) 1935-2003
See index for CA sketch: Born January 12, 1935, in Holyoke, MA; died of brain cancer October 31, 2003, in Los Angeles, CA. Filmmaker and author. Guenette was an innovative, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and cofounder of the Los Angeles Media and Education Center and the International Documentary Association. Leaving home at the age of sixteen, he moved to New York City with aspirations of becoming an actor. However, the young Guenette instead became interested in filmmaking and found his way into entry-level jobs in television during the 1950s. He eventually became a film editor for CBS-TV and worked on a variety of television series such as Omnibus and Conquest. Later, he also directed and helped produce NBC programs, including The DuPont Show of the Month. By 1964, Guenette was a writer for Seven Arts Productions in Los Angeles and a vice president of creative affairs for Metropolitan Broadcasting in New York City. Three years later, he had become president of his own production company, Robert Guenette Productions, but he closed shop in 1971 to join Wolper Productions in Los Angeles in 1971 as a director, writer, and producer, becoming president of the company in 1975. At Wolper, Guenette produced the highest-rated television documentary to date, Monsters! Mysteries or Myths? (1974). Later, he made other groundbreaking films such as Victory at Entebbe! (1976), the first full-length documentary shot entirely with a video camera, and A Rock 'n' Roll Summit (1985), filmed in the Soviet Union. One of his most memorable projects, however, was the Emmy winning They've Killed President Lincoln (1971) in which he depicted the assassination of Lincoln as if a film crew had been present as the tragic event actually unfolded. Guenette also earned an Emmy in 1964 for his documentary William Faulkner's Mississippi. In addition to directing, Guenette wrote several of the documentaries he filmed, including The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena (1977) and The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1980). Eager to give back to the Los Angeles area community, in 1994 he founded the Media and Education Center with Robert Leeburg, the goal of which is to encourage area citizens of diverse backgrounds to participate in the arts. For his work in film, Guenette was awarded the Pioneer Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to the Documentary Community from the International Documentary Association in 2001.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Singer, Michael, editor, Michael Singer's Film Directors: A Complete Guide, Lone Eagle Publishing (Los Angeles, CA), 1992.
Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2003, p. B12. New York Times, November 6, 2003, p. C13.