Robert Wilson, a pioneer in public television who became better known as the father of actors Luke, Owen and Andrew Wilson, died Friday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, The Dallas Morning News reports. He was 75.
“In 1967, Wilson took over Dallas’ flagging public television affiliate, KERA-TV (Channel 13). Wilson hired Jim Lehrer and put him in charge of public affairs programming,” the paper reports. “That led to the creation of ‘Newsroom,’ with Lehrer as host. A daring contrast to the early 1970s conservatism of Dallas’ mainstream newspapers, ‘Newsroom’ became the forerunner of a PBS staple, ‘The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.'”
Lehrer is quoted in the report saying: “I would have never, ever gone into public broadcasting or had the opportunity to participate in something like the creation of ‘NewsHour’ on PBS, had it not been for Bob Wilson.”
Wilson’s sons Andrew, Luke and Owen have all had successful acting careers, with Owen sharing an Oscar nomination with Wes Anderson in 2002 for the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
KERA posted a documentary in which Wilson talks about the station’s early years, which you can watch below.