Evans, a highly celebrated figure of the film industry, is widely credited as a pivotal figure in the meteoric rise of Paramount Pictures after he was announced as its head in 1967 and propelled its commerical success.
At the time of his appointment at Paramount, the company was struggling financially and continually making poor decisions and was ranked as the ninth biggest studio. Evans, armed with desire and hard work, managed to turn around now-iconic films such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Italian Job, True Grit, Chinatown and more which successfully transformed the company.
Famously though, Evans handed a relatively unknown filmmaker by the name of Francis Ford Coppola the opportunity to adapt Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel The Godfatherto film—a decision which would result in major success for all involved. The pair would then go on to collaborate on The Godfather Part II, The Cotton Club, The Conversation and more.
While the two did have a somewhat love-hate relationship, Coppola has remembered his former colleague fondly following the news of his passing: “I remember Bob Evans’ charm, good looks, enthusiasm, style, and sense of humour,” he said in a statement issued to Variety.
“He had strong instincts as evidenced by the long list of great films in his career. When I worked with Bob, some of his helpful ideas included suggesting John Marley as Woltz and Sterling Hayden as the Police Captain, and his ultimate realisation that The Godfather could be 2 hours and 45 minutes in length.
“Also, making a movie out of The Cotton Club — casting Richard Gere and Gregory Hines, and bringing Milena Canonero, George Faison, Richard Sylbert, and many other talented people to work on the film. May the kid always stay in the picture.”