Bill Siegel, Oscar-Nominated Documentary Producer, Dies at 55

Siegel was a producer on the Oscar-nominated “The Weather Underground” and the Emmy-winning “The Trials of Muhammad Ali”

Bill Siegel

Bill Siegel, producer of the Emmy-winning documentary “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” has died at the age of 55.

“Bill was an erudite, passionate and intelligent activist and independent thinker as well as being a gifted filmmaker and cherished friend,” read a statement from Kartemquin Films, which announced his death on Tuesday.

“He has been a valued member of the Kartemquin community since he first worked as a researcher on ‘Hoop Dreams.’ We will miss him greatly,” the statement added.

Siegel’s career in documentaries spans more than 20 years and was highlighted by “Trials of Muhammad Ali,” which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens.” The series followed the late boxer’s struggles outside the ring as he converted to Islam, changed his name and fought to overturn the prison sentence he received for refusing to serve in the Vietnam War.

Siegel also received an Oscar nomination as a producer on the 2003 documentary “The Weather Underground,” a film that explored the history of The Weathermen, a left-wing terrorist organization that planned multiple bombings through the 1970s.

Prior to his death, Siegel was working on a new documentary that traced the history of the United States Information Agency and the creation of the U.S. government’s internationally broadcast radio station Voice of America, which is regarded by some as a form of propaganda. Siegel is succeeded by his former wife, Lauren, and his children, Johanna and Louis.