Robert Guenette, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, died on Oct. 31 from brain cancer. He was 68.
Guenette left home at 16 to become an actor in New York City, but he quickly developed a passion for filmmaking. He took a job at CBS and worked his way up from assistant editor to network news producer.
In 1971, Guenette produced and co-wrote “They’ve Killed President Lincoln,” a documentary that aired on NBC. During the making of this movie, Guenette developed a technique of reenacting historical events and then filming them using modern newsreel cameras. This revolutionary idea earned him and co-writer Theodore H. Strauss an Emmy for outstanding achievement in cultural documentary programming.
Guenette produced “Monsters! Mysteries or Myths?” an investigation into the existence of the Loch Ness monster, the Abominable Snowman and Bigfoot in 1974. The show, which was narrated by Rod Serling, was the highest-rated documentary in television history. Two years later, he produced “Victory at Entebbe!” a TV movie about the Israeli raid and rescue of Jewish hostages from Arab terrorists in Uganda.
Guenette later produced the documentaries “The Crucifixion of Jesus,” “The Plot to Murder Hitler,” “Cortez and Montezuma: Conquest of an Empire” and “Peary’s Race to the North Pole,” for CBS. He was also the co-founder of the International Documentary Association and the Los Angeles Media & Education Center.
In 2001, Guenette received the International Documentary Association Pioneer Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to the Documentary Community.