Remembering Bob Carr
September 13, 2018 by Andrew Schneider
Chicago’s creative community lost a legend this month with the passing of editor Bob Carr, a man whose more than four-decade career in the city was marked by achievement and mentoring.
Carr passed away on September 2 after a two-year battle with gliosarcoma. He was 72.
His career began in 1972 with Edit/Chicago. He spent more than two decades as a leading editor at Optimus before leaving to found his own company NuWorld. He joined Red Car in 2001 and worked there until leaving in 2013, going freelance for the remainder of his career.
Optimus’ President Tom Duff, worked with Carr mostly on the association side, through the local chapter of AICE and recalls his passion and dedication to the craft of editing and his love of the local sports teams.
“There was many a night where we’d sit on bar stools and talk about his beloved Bulls or White Sox,” Duff said. “And he would get into these heated discussions about the craft of editing after a few beers, he would get into people’s faces about it, he was so passionate.”
Sean Berringer, who worked with Carr at Red Car, first met him at an AICE event.
“In true Bob fashion he encouraged me to become more active,” he said. “I remember instantly enjoying my conversation with him. He had such an honest and engaging way of expressing his opinions and passions. Eventually I joined the board and it had a huge impact on my career locally.”
Their relationship grew after Carr moved to Red Car.
“After he closed NuWorld with his partners we (Red Car) were thrilled to have him with us,” Berringer said. “Although my career had been established at that point, Bob was an immediate mentor. Each time I watched and studied his edits I would learn something new and valuable. In fact, I used to sneak into his room and scan over his edits to look at each individual cut. They were so super clean, intentional, and spot on.”
Flavor’s Chris Elliot worked with Carr at Red Carr until its closure in 2013.
“We did a Super Bowl spot for McDonald’s in 2012 and it was such a thrill for Bob - to be at the tail-end of his career - and get another – he was just so joyful about it,” Elliot said. “The guy was passionate in life, not just about editing, if he wanted to learn it and understand it – he had an intensity to him – he dove into the deep end and that carried over to everything he did.”
Optimus’ Jon Desir, who also worked with Carr at Red Car, recalled how that passion affected him and made him a better producer.
“Bob was furious at me for not including a producer on an email I had sent out,” Desir said. “It was one of two times in this industry that someone has made me cry. It was years later that it sunk in that he was trying to make me better at my job it was just the way he went about it – he was from a different school…I can’t contribute my success enough to the fact that he made me want to do better.”
Utopic’s Craig Lewandowski remembers Carr as a mentor who brought him in as an intern at NuWorld.
“He was no bullshit – he wouldn’t mince words,” Lewandowski said. “If you screwed up you knew it but he wasn’t a jerk – he would just say, this is business, this is how it needs to be and if you’re not doing it right, you need to do it right. I learned so much from him - he was undoubtedly the biggest influence on my career.”
Duff recalled, in particular, Carr’s contributions to AICE and to the city’s reputation.
“He was a leader, “Duff said. “AICE has been around for a long, long time, but in its early days it was a touch-and-go association, tough to get people to join and to pay dues. Bob was a star editor, a living legend, and people listened to him. His whole push was to make sure that the agencies and the directors and others out there understood the importance of the editor,” he said. “The editors bring so much to the process – he was a huge champion of that.”
“Bob’s whole push was to make sure that the agencies and the directors and others out there understood the importance of the editor,” he said.
His legacy is most obvious here in Chicago, Elliot said.
“I think the one thing that represents his legacy is the amount of editors in town that looked up to him as THE number one editor,” Elliot said. “He was the guy that either mentored him or someone they aspired to be or compete against. He was this figure, not only in Chicago, but nationally, he brought a national attention to Chicago as a place where the best creative editorial was happened.”
And the creative editorial for Carr meant fighting for the right cut.
“He really was passionate and he wanted to educate people and make them understand why the process was so important,” Desir said. “When I think about him, he’s fighting for the editor, the creative, making sure the work is the best it can be. He would really stick to his guns to make the edit work.”
To Duff, Carr will also be a local legend, someone who attended every opening day with the White Sox as part of the “Sammy Davis Jr. Fan Club.”
“He was a Chicago guy,” Duff said. “Super talented, cared about everybody in our world, he’s definitely a legend.”