by Fred Lombardi
Serving as editor of Variety between Syd Silverman and Peter Bart, Roger Watkins represented the last stretch of continuity in the editor’s chair from the original Variety to its transition into a corporate entity.
Roger also evoked the past in other ways. There is always pressure on upper echelon people to be very limited in their candor. I always found Roger to be very straightforward, a straight arrow guy with a keen sense of fun. He was accessible to everyone and communication levels with the staff were always strong.
In the last few years my contact with Roger was limited to a few emails but I always considered him to be a friend. I was very disappointed when I learned that he was unable to appear at the Variety Reunion. I was deeply saddened when I learned of the circumstances that made that absence unavoidable. I am further saddened today to learn that all communication lines to Roger are now gone.