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October 1, 1917|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Died||May 21, 1998
Magalia, Butte County, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Film director, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Agnes Moorehead (1954–1958)|
Life and career
Gist was reared around the stockyards of Chicago, Illinois, during the Great Depression. Reform school-bound after injuring another boy in a fistfight, Gist instead ended up at Chicago's Hull House, a settlement house originally established by social worker Jane Addams. There he first became interested in acting.
Work in Chicago radio was followed by stage acting roles in Chicago and on Broadway (in the long-running Harvey with Josephine Hull). While acting in Harvey, he made his motion picture debut in 20th Century-Fox's Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Gist was also seen on Broadway in director Charles Laughton's The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1954) with Henry Fonda and John Hodiak.
While shooting Operation Petticoat (1959), Gist told director Blake Edwards that he was interested in directing. Edwards later hired Gist to helm episodes of the TV series Peter Gunn. Gist also directed episodes of TV shows Naked City, The Twilight Zone, Route 66, and many others.
Gist directed the world premiere of Edna St. Vincent Millay's Conversation at Midnight, produced by Worley Thorne and Susan Davis, in November 1961, on stage, at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles. Playing only on the three "off-nights" the theatre was available, Monday through Wednesday, the production was received enthusiastically by critics and audiences, and the small 160-seat theatre was filled to capacity each night for six weeks. With that success, the production moved to the larger Civic Playhouse, where it ran for more than four more months. In the cast were James Coburn, Jack Albertson, Eduard Franz, Hal England, Sandy Kenyon, Frank DeKova and Bill Berger. Three years later, Gist directed another production of the piece on Broadway, at the Billy Rose Theatre, again produced by Thorne, in association with Davis, with some of the first cast. However, notably absent in key roles were James Coburn and Jack Albertson. The "play," a dramatic dialogue of ideas, delivered in various poetic forms, did not do well on Broadway and closed within the week.
- An American Dream (1966)
- Vacation Playhouse
- Have Gun - Will Travel
- The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor
- Peter Gunn
- The Law and Mr. Jones
- The Americans
- The Aquanauts
- Blueprint for Robbery (1961)
- Sea Hunt
- Pony Express
- Hotel de Paree
- Perry Mason
- Hennesey, with Jackie Cooper, recurring role as Dr. Owen King
- General Electric Theater
- Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
- Death Valley Days
- The Untouchables
- The DuPont Show with June Allyson
- Hawaiian Eye
- Operation Petticoat (1959)
- Men into Space
- Alcoa Theatre
- The FBI Story
- Johnny Ringo
- Lock Up
- Al Capone (1959)
- Black Saddle
- Goodyear Theatre
- Wolf Larsen (1958)
- The Naked and the Dead (1958)
- Richard Diamond, Private Detective
- The Walter Winchell File
- The Phil Silvers Show
- Studio One
- Ford Television Theatre
- D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
- Ford Star Jubilee
- The Band Wagon (1953)
- Angel Face (1952)
- One Minute to Zero (1952)
- Strangers on a Train (1951)
- The Jackpot (1950)
- I Was a Shoplifter (1950)
- A Dangerous Profession (1949)
- Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949)
- Scene of the Crime (1949)
- Jigsaw (1949)
- The Stratton Story (1949)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Robert Gist was appointed Head of the School of Arts at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE) now the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1975.
Also, during the 1960s, he made himself into a Hollywood acting coach, forming one of the actors' workshops of that time. In 1964, he used its members—who he named "The Group"—to perform several evenings of Carl Sandburg's poetry. The event was titled The People Yes.
- Philip Barter Cameraman/artist
- Neville Tranter, Australian actor/puppeteer
- Bernd Ullrich, German artist
- Lenore Robbins [nee Lee], Australian dancer and choreographer. Contemporary dancer who, following a brief but highly successful performance career, has influenced a generation of young dancers through a succession of regional dance schools in Queensland, Australia.
- , Joan Crawford on "The David Frost Show" 1970 FULL interview, see 30min mark