Robert Blees, a prolific film and television writer and producer, has died. Blees, whose screenwriting credits include Magnificent Obsession, starring Rock Hudson and Jayne Wyman, and Autumn Leaves, starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson, died January 31 at the home of his daughter in Menlo Park, CA. He was 96.
His other film writing credits include Cattle Queen Of Montana, starring Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck, The Glass Web, The Black Scorpion, From The Earth To The Moon, High School Confidential, and Frogs.
In the 1960s, he was a producer on several hit TV series, including Bonanza, Combat! and Kraft Suspense Theatre. He also wrote for Columbo, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Airwolf, Zane Grey Theater, and Cannon, among many other popular TV shows.
A former member of the board of directors of the Writers Guild and the Producers Guild, he served for many years on the board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. “While my tenure on MPTF’s board overlapped Bob Blees’ for only a few years, it didn’t take long to appreciate his grace and intellect as well as his compassion for the people of our industry,” said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher. “Bob served the entertainment industry through his tireless dedication as a board member, which spanned 30 years. Based on the thousands of lives he touched through his many contributions to his industry, Blees will be remembered for his storytelling and the goodness he promoted. He was a true gentleman.”
Born on June 9, 1918, in Lathrop, MO, Blees studied at Dartmouth College and worked as a writer and photographer for Time and Life magazines. He came to Hollywood in 1940, landing a job as a scenarist for Warner Bros. During World War II, he served as a bomber navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps.