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Subject: Robert L. Roberts, Movie Theater Owner

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Date Posted: November 18, 2002 4:09:57 EDT

Robert L. Roberts, who won a devoted audience for foreign and independent films at his theaters in New Jersey, died on Friday at the Jacob Perlow Hospice of Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 74.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said George Bernard, a friend.

Beginning in the mid-1980's, Mr. Roberts built a devoted following of filmgoers at the Lost Picture Show, in Union, N.J.

The house, which immodestly carried a sign proclaiming it "New Jersey's Finest Art Theater," exhibited films ordinarily available only in Manhattan.

In 1999, he closed the theater in Union and eventually opened a house in Bloomfield, using the same name.

In 1995, he won an award from the Montclair Historical Society for renovating the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, a former vaudeville house, and turning it into a cinema multiplex.

Mr. Roberts, whose original name was Robert Levitt, was born in the Bronx on Aug. 16, 1928. His wife, the former Mary Taggart, died in 1982.

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