Robert Shelton, founder of Old Tucson Studios and a longtime advocate for the Southern Arizona movie industry, has died at the age of 95.
A statement issued on Old Tucson’s Facebook page said Shelton died Thursday.
Shelton had just visited the Wild-West theme park on Dec. 3 to celebrate the second annual Bob Shelton Day, Old Tucson said.
Old Tucson said it has draped several areas in black and white bunting to honor Shelton, including a museum named in his honor.
Shelton founded Old Tucson Co. in 1959, 20 years after Columbia Pictures built the Wild West town as a set for “Arizona," an epic Western film starring Jean Arthur and William Holden.
Shelton was involved in the production of more than 300 movies and television shows between 1959 and 1985, when he sold Old Tucson.
In 1968, a 13,000-square-foot soundstage was built, which launched Old Tucson into a frenzy of moviemaking. The first film to use the soundstage was "Young Billy Young," with Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson.
At one point in 1970, Shelton recalled in 2011, Burt Lancaster, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin worked simultaneously on four different movies here.
On April 25, 1995, a fire raced through Old Tucson, destroying the soundstage and much of the historic movie sets.