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Gimbel, Peter (Robin)

Summary Article: Gimbel, Peter (Robin) from The Hutchinson Encyclopedia

US explorer, film-maker, and businessman. A trustee of the New York Zoological Society (from 1957) and the American Museum of Natural History (1958), in 1959 he also became an executive director of the family retailing business Gimbel Brothers, Inc. (see Isaac Gimbel). Profoundly affected by the death of his twin brother David, he opted to move away from business and pursue his interests in science and exploration. In 1963, he led a team into the uncharted Vilcabamba Range in the Peruvian Andes. He formed the Blue Meridian Company, producing several documentary films, including Blue Water, White Death (1971) about the great white shark.

Gimbel was born in New York City. He served in the US Army of Occupation in Japan (1946–47), subsequently graduating from Yale University in 1951. After a year at one of the family Gimbel's department stores, he joined his identical twin brother, David Alva Gimbel, in the investment firm White, Well & Company (1952–60). He quit Wall Street, enrolled in Columbia University to study sciences (1960–62), and devoted himself to the life of an explorer. A deep-sea diver since childhood, Peter became fascinated by the Andrea Doria that sank in 1956; the photographs he took during an exploration of the ship the day after it sank were published in Life magazine (6 and 13 August 1956). He later revived his interest in the allegedly ‘unsinkable’ Andrea Doria, leading several dives to the wreck and filming Mystery of the Andrea Doria (1976) and Andrea Doria: The Final Chapter (1984).

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