Mel Roberts short biography

1923: Born Melvin Richard Kells in Toledo, Ohio

1939: Shot and directed his first 16mm film, titled “Modern Robinson Crusoes” using his high school and neighborhood friends as actors

1940: Shot and directed 16mm film, titled “Vacation in Dreamland”

1941: Graduated Macomber Vocational High School, Toledo, Ohio
Entered University of Toledo

1943: Inducted into Military service for the US Air Force
Served as Air Force cinematographer in the Pacific Theatre of operations Stationed in Papua New Guinea, The Philippines and Okinawa

1945: Honorably Discharged from the Air Force

1946: Relocated to Santa Fe Springs, California

1947: Attended University of Southern California, Department of Cinema

1950: Graduated and entered Graduate Cinema Program at USC

1952: Music editor for the film “Salt of the Earth”
Moved to La Jolla, California
Hired by Convair Aerospace Corporation as Director of Documentary Film Division then abruptly dismissed by Convair without explanation (possibly due to his involvement on the then blacklisted film “Salt of the Earth”)
Life model for the La Jolla Museum of Modern Art sculpture classes

1953: Returned to Hollywood, worked as freelance cinematographer and film editor for various Hollywood film studios
Purchased his first Rolleiflex Camera, began shooting his friends and lovers.

1954: Purchased his current home in Bel Air, the location of many of the photos herein.

1959: First nude model shoot in Pacific Palisades.

1962: First male nude photographs published by “Young Physique” Magazine.
1963: Began receiving requests for prints from mail-order customers worldwide

1967: Self-published first book, titled “Mel Roberts Boys”

1969: European photo agent distributes his photographs in Germany, France, Belgium, England and Switzerland

1977: First raid on his Bel Air home by the Los Angeles Police Department

1979: Second raid on his home by the L.A.P.D., seizing all existing chromes, negatives, photographic equipment and customer mailing lists.

1980: All photographic materials released, no charges filed.

1981: Ceased professional photography career.

1992: L.A.P.D. raids his home a third time, seizing portions of the same material as before. No charges filed.

1993: Released first of four video collections featuring photographs of his early work.



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