Robert Henry Michel (born March 2, 1923 in Peoria, Illinois) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois.
When the Second World War broke out he joined the United States Army and served with the 39th Infantry regiment as an infantryman in England, France, Belgium, and Germany from February 10, 1943, to January 26, 1946. He was wounded by machine gun fire and awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and four battle stars.
After the war, he attended Bradley University in Peoria, and graduated in 1948. From 1949 to 1956, he worked as an administrative assistant to U.S. Representative Harold Velde.
He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representives in 1956 and served until his retirement on January 3, 1995. Michel served as Minority Whip from 94th Congress though the 96th Congress. Later, he served as minority leader from 97th Congress through 103rd Congresses. A moderate, Michel was criticized by Newt Gingrich and other young, aggressive conservative congressmen for being too easy-going and not fighting hard enough for Republican goals in the House during its long period of Democratic control.
Michel stirred a minor controversy in the early 1990s when he fondly recalled minstrel shows in which he had participated in blackface as a young man, expressing his regret that they had fallen out of fashion.