Mark Robson was a Canadian-born film editor, film director and producer in Hollywood.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, he moved to the United States at a young age. He studied at the University of California, Los Angeles then found work in the prop department at 20th Century Fox studios. He eventually went to work at RKO Pictures where he began training as a film editor. In 1940 he worked as an assistant to Robert Wise on the editing of Citizen Kane in addition to several other films. Both he and Wise benefited tremendously from producer and screenwriter Val Lewton, who promoted Robson from film editor to production assistant and later as director. In 1943, at the insistence of Lewton, Robson assisted Lewton and famed director Jacques Tourneur in a series of low-budget horror films produced by Val Lewton that today are regarded as some of RKO’s best, including Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie. Later, Lewton was instrumental in promoting Robson to the director’s chair for films such as The Seventh Victim, Robson’s first directing credit, and the troubled Isle of the Dead. His success at RKO lead to work on major film projects and in 1949 he was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for his work on the film noir drama Champion. That same year, he directed the popular romance My Foolish Heart and Home of the Brave, one of the first films to deal with the issue of racism. Robson briefly brought back his old mentor Val Lewton with fellow protege Robert Wise in a partnership for film and television production, only to drop the ailing Lewton without explanation a few months later. Robson was nominated by the DGA again for the 1955 war drama The Bridges at Toko-Ri, starring William Holden and Grace Kelly.
In 1958, Mark Robson was nominated for an Academy Award for Directing for the major box office success Peyton Place and again the following year for directing Ingrid Bergman in the acclaimed film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. For these films he also received his third and fourth Directors Guild of America nomination. Robson also produced a number of films which he also directed including Von Ryan’s Express in 1965. He directed 1967’s Valley of the Dolls, a film panned by the critics but a success at the box office. In 1974 he directed the blockbuster Earthquake, the film that introduced “Sensurround”.