Robert L. "Bob" Allen was born May 22, 1939 to Corliss and Katherine Allen in El Reno, Oklahoma. He attended all 12 grades in El Reno public schools and graduated high school in 1957. He later graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962.

Known as "Mr. OETA," he served in top leadership positions first as OETA Executive Director from 1972 to 1999 and then as OETA Foundation President from 1999 to 2014. During his 42 year tenure, he presided over a period of growth in facilities, programming, local productions and public support unparalleled in OETA’s history. Allen began with a small totally state funded basement operation in 1972 and built it into an annual operation of more than $8 million secured from a broad base of support distributed between the public and private sectors.