Robert Evans (film producer): Wikis

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Robert Evans
Born Robert J. Shapera
June 29, 1930 (1930-06-29) (age 79)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Film producer
Years active 1950s–present
Spouse(s) Sharon Hugueny (1961-1962)
Camilla Sparv (1963-1965)
Ali MacGraw (1969-1972)
Phyllis George (1977-1978)
Catherine Oxenberg (1998)
Leslie Ann Woodward (2002-2004)
Lady Victoria White (2005-2006)

Robert Evans (born June 29, 1930 as Robert J. Shapera) is an American film producer best known for his work on Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Godfather and Chinatown as well as his seven marriages.


Early life and acting career

Evans was born Robert J. Shapera in New York City, New York, the son of Florence (née Evans), a housewife who came from a wealthy family, and Archie Shapera, a dentist in Harlem.[1] He grew up on New York City's Upper West Side during the 1930s, where he was better off than most people living during the Great Depression. In his early years, he did promotional work for Evan Picone, a fashion company founded by his brother, in addition to doing voice work on radio shows.

He was spotted by actress Norma Shearer next to the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel on election day 1956; she successfully touted him for the role of her late husband Irving Thalberg in Man of a Thousand Faces. The same year, Evans also caught the eye of Darryl F. Zanuck, who cast him as Pedro Romero in a film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, against the wishes of Hemingway himself.[2] In 1959, he appeared in Twentieth Century Fox's production of The Best of Everything with Hope Lange, Diane Baker, and Joan Crawford.

Career as producer

Dissatisfied with his own acting talent, he determined to become a producer. He got his start as a producer by purchasing the rights to a 1966 novel entitled The Detective which Evans made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra in 1968. Peter Bart, a writer for the New York Times, wrote an article about Evans’ aggressive production style. This got Evans noticed by Charles Bluhdorn, who was head of the Gulf+Western conglomerate, and hired Evans as part of a shakeup at Paramount Pictures.

When Evans took over as Head of Production for Paramount, the floundering studio was the ninth largest. Even with Evans’ inexperience he was able to turn the studio around. He made Paramount the most successful studio in Hollywood and transformed it into a very profitable enterprise for Gulf+Western. During his tenure at Paramount, the studio turned out films such as Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, The Italian Job, True Grit, Love Story, Harold and Maude, Serpico, The Conversation, Save the Tiger, The Great Gatsby, Rosemary's Baby, The Godfather, and many others.

Unsatisfied with his financial compensation coupled with a desire to produce films under his own banner, Evans struck a deal with Paramount that enabled him to stay on as studio head while also working as an independent producer. Other producers at Paramount felt this gave Evans an unfair advantage. Eventually Evans stepped down, which enabled him to produce films on his own. He went on to produce such films as: Chinatown, Marathon Man, Black Sunday, Popeye, Urban Cowboy, The Cotton Club, The Two Jakes, Sliver, Jade, The Phantom, The Saint, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Evans began to fall on hard times in the early 1980s, when during the production of Popeye, he was convicted for attempting to buy cocaine. Things got even worse for him when he began filming The Cotton Club. Evans was slated to direct, but due to production complications Francis Ford Coppola was called in during the filming. The budget for the film soared and Coppola and Evans fought endlessly. Evans was peripherally linked to the murder of Roy Radin, an investor in The Cotton Club, who was murdered by Bill Mentzer and Alex Marti. The two convicts accused Evans of involvement. Evans pleaded the Fifth Amendment and was sent home. Evans wrote in his 1994 autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture that he was a "tangential character, at best" in regard to the case.

Evans continues to produce; the last film that he produced was released in 2003. He also produced and provided the voice for his eponymous character in the animated series Kid Notorious. Evans currently hosts the Sirius Satellite Radio show In Bed with Robert Evans.

Personal life

Evans has been married seven times but none of his marriages have lasted more than three years. His first was to Sharon Hugueny (1961-1962). After his first divorce came: Camilla Sparv (1963-1965), Ali MacGraw (1969-1972), Phyllis George (1977-1978), Catherine Oxenberg (1998),[3] Leslie Ann Woodward (2002-2004) and Victoria White (2005-2006). Evans' marriage to Oxenberg was annulled after nine days.[4] He married White in Mexico on August 2005, shortly after his 75th birthday; she filed for divorce on June 16, 2006, citing irreconcilable differences.[citation needed]

Evans has one son, Josh Evans, also a producer, from his marriage to MacGraw, and a daughter-in-law, actress Charis Michelsen.[3]

Joe Eszterhas repeatedly describes his friend, Evans, as "the devil" in this book, Hollywood Animal, and goes on to say that "all lies ever told anywhere about Robert Evans are true."

Meredith Rhule, his personal in-home movie projectionist, indicates that Robert Evans absolutely knows how to impress potential movie backers. "I have seen almost every movie star, top models, heads of studios and heads of states walk into his home. Bob Evans is the Godfather of Hollywood."

Popular culture

Evans was recreated as a cartoon character in the briefly run Comedy Central TV series Kid Notorious, where he and his sidekick Slash (of Guns and Roses fame) would embark on various adventures and get-rich-quick schemes.

In the 1997 movie Wag the Dog, a Washington, D.C. spin doctor distracts the electorate from a U.S. presidential sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood producer played by Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman's character was based directly upon Robert Evans. Hoffman emulated Evans' work habits, mannerisms, quirks, clothing style, hairstyle, and his large square-framed eyeglasses. The real Evans is said to have declared, "I'm magnificent in this film!"[5]

Smuggler Films has acquired the stage rights to Evans' memoirs, The Kid Stays in the Picture and it’s sequel, The Fat Lady Sang, which will be published in conjunction with the debut of the play. Award-winning director Sir Richard Eyre is set to direct with Jon Robin Baitz, in place to pen the stage play.[6]

Evans served as the inspiration for a Mr. Show sketch, in which Bob Odenkirk portrays God recording his memoirs, dressed as and speaking like Evans.






  1. ^
  2. ^ . 
  3. ^ a b Archerd, Army. "Evans and Oxenberg saying 'I do.'" Variety, July 1998. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Archerd, Army. "Evans and Oxenberg untie knot." Variety, July 1998. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  5. ^ "Double Takes". Newsweek (The Washington Post Company). 1998-03-02. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  6. ^

External links

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