Robert D. Marta, a camera operator who worked on such films as The Jerk and Oh, God! and series including Hart to Hart and Fantasy Island, died today at his home in Bozeman, MT. He was 73 and had been battling health issues for years, his family said.
Born on October 5, 1943 in Pasadena, Marta was a founding member and the first president of the Society of Operating Cameramen — now Society of Camera Operators — from 1981-85 and was one of the early champions of the industrywide labor-management safety committee. He received the SoC’s Presidents Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.
Marta started his Hollywood career as an uncredited assistant cameraman on Diamonds Are Forever, the 1971 film that was the last of Sean Connery’s original five-film run as James Bond. He went on to work on such 1970s films as Tom Laughlin’s indie sequels The Trial of Billy Jack and Billy Jack Goes to Washington; Norman Jewison’s … And Justice for All, starring Al Pacino; and three Carl Reiner-helmed comedies: Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; and The One and Only, starring Henry Winkler; and Steve Martin’s memorable breakout yarn The Jerk.
Marta did some TV work during the early 1980s — including Fantasy Island, more than a dozen episodes of Hart to Hart and a few telefilms, while also running a camera on the Kirk Douglas-Martin Sheen time-travel thriller The Final Countdown and Robert Towne’s Mariel Hemingway starrer Personal Best. His mid-’80s feature credits include Streets of Fire, Poltergeist II: The Other Side and his final film, Eddie Murphy starrer The Golden Child.
During his tenure at the S.O.C., Bob helped countless children through the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Vision Center.
Marta is survived by his two daughters Michelle Marta and Amanda McComb, son in law John and their three children. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 PM June 3 at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Country House Lounge in Woodland Hills.