Friday, April 10, 2020
APRIL 10, 2020 -- NEW YORK CITY -- Craig Gilbert, a writer and director of documentaries, has died at the age of 94 in New York City. Among Mr. Gilbert’s documentaries are: Margaret Mead’s New Guinea Journal, The Triumph of Christy Brown, and the controversial and highly regarded An American Family, each for PBS.
Mr. Gilbert died of natural causes after a brief illness, a spokeswoman announced. Mr. Gilbert was raised in New York City and Woodmere, Long Island. He attended Phillips Academy and Harvard University. He served in the Red Cross Field Service during World War Two. Among the first to arrive at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the Spring of 1945, Mr. Gilbert said it was a moment which had stayed with him every day since.
The late James Gandolfini portrayed Mr. Gilbert in the 2011 HBO film, Cinema Verite, which dramatized the making of An American Family. He bristled whenever he would hear or read that An American Family was the first reality show: “No, no, no! Not a chance.”
Most recently, Mr. Gilbert had served as executive producer for Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen, and the yet-to-be-released documentary, Elmore Leonard: But Don’t Try To Write.