Robert J. Dowling, Former Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, Dies at 83

Dowling began his 17-year tenure at THR in September 1988

Robert J. Dowling
Robert J. Dowling in 2006 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Robert J. Dowling, the former publisher and editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, died Friday in his home in Santa Monica after a short illness, the trade publication reported. He was 83.

Dowling took over from Tichi Wilkerson after she sold the company to BPI Communications for $26.7 million in 1988. She was the widow of the newspaper’s founder, William R. Wilkerson.

He continued Wilkerson’s Page 1 editorial feature “Trade Winds.” Under his leadership, THR moved to the Internet in 1995 and launched digital THR East for readers on the East Coast.

Dowling resigned in December 2005 and become a consultant and president of his own Bob Dowling Group. He was succeeded by Tony Uphoff, who held the job for less than a year.

Robert Joseph Dowling was born on Long Island, New York on Sept. 16, 1939. He attended Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and went on to become editor and publisher of several publications including American Druggist, High-Tech Marketing, Menswear and Sports Marketing News.

He published his memoir, “My Life … And Then Some,” in 2019.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Juanita, and sons Michael, Matthew and Jobe.