Lee R. Bobker

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Lee Robert Bobker (July 19, 1925 – December 28, 1999) was an American writer, film director and producer, primarily known for his documentary films.[1] He was nominated for three Academy Awards and one Emmy.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Bobker was born in Belle Harbor, in Queens, New York. He began to work as a director and producer of documentary films in the late 1950s. He made a film for the Peabody Coal Company that was "an apology for coal mining" and directed All the Way Home, a film written by Muriel Rukeyser about the community reaction when a white homeowner in an all-white area decides to sell his house to a black family.[2] In 1958, he made the documentary, Psychiatric Nursing, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 1958.[3]

In 1966, he made The Odds Against about the correctional system with Helen Kristt Radin. It was nominated for an Oscar in 1966 for an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject.[4] His film The Revolving Door was nominated in 1968 for best documentary short film. Bobker's The First Amendment, produced for the American Library Association, was about censorship.[1]

Bobker's PBS television series I, Leonardo, which starred Frank Langella as Leonardo da Vinci, was nominated for an Emmy award.[1] Chandler Knowles and Radin were co-producers with Bobker on the 1983 series. In the early 1990s, Bobker began working in cable television and made the documentary Isaac Stern, a Life, which was critically acclaimed. Bobker won acclaim at both national and international film festivals, collecting hundreds of awards.[1]

Bobker wrote two textbooks about filmmaking and aesthetics and contributed to professional periodicals, as well as other publications.[1]

Mr. Bobker is survived by his wife, Kate Gene Russell; two daughters, Gene Spieler, and Laurie Mahler; a son, Dr. Daniel Bobker; and seven grandchildren, including Matthew Spieler, Susanna Spieler, Kayla Mahler, Adam Mahler, Alissa Mahler, Hannah Bobker, and Andrew Bobker.[1] His wife Kate is the sister of stock analyst Richard Russell.


  • Lee R. Bobker, Elements of Film (1971)
  • Lee R. Bobker, Making Movies: From Script to Screen (1973)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wolfgang Saxon, "Lee Robert Bobker, 74, Filmmaker Who Also Taught and Wrote About His Craft" The New York Times (January 30, 2000). Retrieved March 14, 2011
  2. ^ Peter Lev, The Fifties: Transforming the Screen 1950-1959 Scribd.com History of the American Cinema, Vol. 7, pp. 268 and 275. Retrieved March 14, 2011
  3. ^ Psychiatric Nursing The New York Times. March 14, 2011
  4. ^ The Odds Against The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2011

External links[edit]