Hollywood Labor Reporter Was 74 – The Hollywood Reporter

Dave Robb, who spent more than four decades on the Hollywood labor beat for The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and, most recently, Deadline, has died. He was 74.

Robb died peacefully Friday night at his Los Angeles home after being diagnosed in late October with inoperable cancer of the brain stem, Deadline reported. (Deadline, like THR and Variety, are owned by Penske Media Group.)

He spent most of his last year covering the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

A dogged investigative journalist in his day, the gruff yet genial Robb started at THR as an editorial assistant in 1979, the first of his five stints with the paper. On Facebook, former editor Alex Ben Block wrote that he hired him twice and “rarely gave Dave an assignment. Usually he came to me with stories out of the blue that were amazing, brilliant and breaking news.

“I just want to add what a true original he was, his incredible integrity and his kind of heroism in the mold of an Old West character who stands alone against all odds.”

Robb left THR in 2001 when publisher Robert J. Dowling decided not to publish his story about allegations of unethical behavior by longtime THR party columnist George Christy. Christy was eventually suspended and then resigned.

Robb was the first on the scene in 2002 when Los Angeles Times reporter (and former THR editor) Anita M. Busch, his good friend, discovered a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on her car windshield with a sign beside it containing one word: “Stop.” She saw that as a message for her to cease writing stories about clients repped by the notorious P.I. Anthony Pellicano.

He worked at Variety for about a decade starting in 1982.

Robb wrote several books, including 2004’s Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies and 2012’s The Stuntwoman: The True Story of a Hollywood Heroine about Julie Ann Johnson. He also penned articles for The New York Times — one helped blacklisted screenwriter Michael Wilson get the credit he deserved on Lawrence of ArabiaAssociated Press, L.A. Weekly and more.

Born on May 12, 1949, Robb was the son and grandson of union members and a member of five unions himself, according to Deadline. He took part in a weekly Friday night poker game for years that included Block, John De Simio of Castle Rock and AP sportswriter John Nadel.

Survivors include his wife, Kelly.

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