Robert W. Coyne, 72, a distilling industry official who also had careers in the motion picture industry and the federal government, died Saturday at Sibley Memorial Hospital after a long illness.

He was elected president of the Distilled Spirits Institute, the national trade association of the distilling industry, in 1959.

He continued in that position when the DSI became part of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Inc. in 1973. He had been a consultant to DISCUS since 1974.

Born in Bangor, Maine, Mr. Coyne was a graduate of George Washington University Law School. From 1925 to 1939, he was a special investigator and them an assistant district superintendent with the Treasury and Justice Departments.

During World War II, Mr. Coyne was a national field director in Treasury's War Finance Division. He directed eight war bond drives ad after the war supervised the organization of the peace-time Treasury savings bond program.

In 1946, he helped organize the American Theatres Association and served as its exective director until it merged with another organization to become the Theater Owners of America. He served as special counsel to the Council of Motion Picture Organization from 1950 to 1958.

Mr. Coyne was a member of the Maine and Massachusetts Bars and the National Press Club. He was a former member of the Variety Club.

He is survived by his wife, Rose Marie Coyne, of the home in Washington, and three grandchildren. His son, Robert W. Coyne Jr., died in 1972.