Julia Reichert, Oscar-Winning Documentarian of ‘American Factory,’ Dies at 76

Julia Reichert, the veteran documentarian who won an Oscar in 2020 for her feature “American Factory,” died on Dec. 1 after her battle with cancer, Southwest Ohio outlet WYSO, for which she hosted a weekly radio show, reported on Friday. She was 76.

Across her more than 50 years as a filmmaker, Reichert received four Academy Award nominations and one win, two Primetime Emmys, a Director’s Guild Award and two Peabody Award nods. Her documentaries, including Oscar nominees “Union Maids,” “Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists” and “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” dealt with themes of gender, class, race and the global economy.

Reichert and her partner Steven Bognar frequently collaborated together, including on their best documentary feature winner “American Factory,” “Dave Chappelle: Live in Real Life,” “8:46,” 9to5: The Story of a Movement,” “Making Morning Star,” “Sparkle,” “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” and “A Lion in the House.”

After being born and raised in Bordtentown Township, N.J., Reichert graduated from Antioch College in 1970 — after briefly dropping out to hitchhike to California during the late ’60s — and released her first documentary, “Growing Up Female,” in 1971. The film detailed the socialization of women at different points in their lives and was the first documentary of the Women’s Liberation Movement. It was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry in 2011.

She is survived by Bognar, daughter Lela Klein Holt, three brothers, two grandchildren and a nephew.

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