Little on Robert Dowling’s early resume screamed Hollywood power broker.
The New York native had worked as a trade publication editor and publisher for American Druggist, High-Tech Marketing, Menswear and Sports Marketing News. He’d also developed a knack for revitalizing underperformers, which was the very definition of the Hollywood Reporter in 1988. Lagging far behind entertainment industry trade news leader Daily Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, founded in 1930, was losing about a $1 million a year when Dowling was offered the job as president.
“He didn’t know anything about the industry or anybody. But he jumped at the opportunity — he’d always been a huge fan of entertainment,” his son Michael Dowling told The Times. “Working in publishing in New York in those days, he saw that the entertainment industry was evolving to become more of a business.”