Robert Wise passed away on September 14, 2005, just days after celebrating
his 91st birthday with some old friends. His memorial service was held on
December 8, 2005 at the Directors Guild of America.
Robert Wise was a former president of the DGA, and a passionate lover and
teacher of film to actors, directors, editors and writers. He was dearly
loved by his family and those who were privileged to have shared the
opportunity to collaborate with this genius.
Steven Spielberg paid tribute to this father figure of cinema to
generations of filmmakers. Like Spielberg, Wise took on many diverse
projects that challenged and strengthened the various genres. The common
thread in the stories that Wise chose to celebrate spoke of the potential
of humanity to do the right thing... whether it was in The Day the Earth
Stood Still, reminding a generation of young people that it was critical
to their survival to work for peace...to showing the strength of family
and love in escaping the Nazi's in the Sound of Music... or speaking out
for human rights in a film about a woman on death row in I Want to Live!
Wise always chose work that had a message, entertained the audience, and
showed human compassion and strength.
Julie Andrews sang his praise and spoke of his kindness to her and her
child when they were making the Sound of Music. All of the people who had
a chance to work or study with this man praised his kindness and sense of
humor, his ability to collaborate and make magic out of teamwork, and the
ability to think outside of the box while piecing together the most
inspirational works of modern time.
Those who knew this man loved him. Those who knew of him revered him. He
shall not be forgotten. His humanity will shine on forever.