Musician Gil Robbins dies at 80

Tim Robbins Tim Robbins worked with his father on two films

Gil Robbins, a folk singer, guitarist and member of the early 1960s group the Highwaymen, has died aged 80.

Robbins, the father of Hollywood actor and director Tim Robbins, died at his home in Esteban Cantu, Mexico.

In a statement to the Associated Press Tim Robbins described Gil Robbins as "a fantastic father", "a great musician" and "a man of unshakeable integrity".

Robbins joined The Highwaymen in 1962.

He played and sang baritone on five albums until their 1964 break-up.

The group's most notable hit was Michael, recorded before Robbins joined.

With Robbins a member, the group began to perform more political music, singing songs with a greater focus on social justice.

Tim Robbins, star of the Shawshank Redemption, worked with his father on the 1992 film Bob Roberts - about a right-wing, folk-singing US Senate candidate.

The actor starred in and also directed Bob Roberts while his father was vocal coach and choral consultant and took a small role.

Gil Robbins also had a small role in Dead Man Walking, which was directed by his son.

Tim Robbins said of his father: "His commitment to social justice was evident to us from an early age, as was his infectious mischievous sense of humour.

"His passing has created great sadness for all of us and our mother but we take comfort in knowing that the angels will soon be soothed by the songs coming from his beautiful baritone voice."

Gil Robbins was born in Spokane, Washington and grew up in Southern California, where he studied music at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Before joining the Highwaymen, he was already a well-known musician on the folk scene around New York's Greenwich Village as a member of the Cumberland Three and the Belafonte Singers.

After the Highwaymen, Robbins managed the Gaslight Club on Greenwich Village's MacDougal Street.

He directed the choir at the Church of St Joseph in Greenwich Village and founded a choral group called the Occasional Singers.

He also acted in off-Broadway productions and in the ill-fated Broadway musical Rainbow Jones, which closed after one performance at the Music Box Theatre in 1974.

As well as his work with his son, he had small roles in the films Cradle Will Rock and Wide Awake.

Other than Tim Robbins, the musician is survived by his other son David, daughters Adele and Gabrielle, his brother Tom and four grandchildren.

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