Robert Evans, the Hollywood producer who is credited as a pioneering force behind the rise of Paramount Pictures, has died at the age of 89.
“Our son, Joshua, and I will miss Bob tremendously,” his ex-wife, actress Ali MacGraw, confirmed in a statement, “and we are so very proud of his enormous contribution to the film Industry. He will be remembered as a giant,” she added.
After a very brief career as an actor, Evans quickly decided to move into the field of film producing and his work was quickly celebrated as he rose through the industry before being appointed as the head of Paramount Pictures in 1967.
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 Godfather and Chinatown which successfully transformed the company.
Despite his inexperience, Evans had managed to flip the fortunes of Paramount and transformed it into the most successful studio in Hollywood.
Despite his early career success, the 1980s turned into a problematic time for Evans who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour in federal court in regards to cocaine trafficking. The plea bargain resulted in Evans being forced to film an anti-drug TV commercial which resulted in an avoidance of prison time. However, Evans has always denied the trafficking claims and instead he was attempting to buy a large amount of the drug for personal use, later stating he never should have been convicted of federal selling and distribution charges, as he was only a user. The alleged drug dealing and the subsequent misdemeanour was later wiped from his record.
After a series of disappointing film releases in the years that followed, Evans enjoyed one last hurrah when he produced the 2003 rom-com How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days starring Kate Hudson and. Matthew McConaughey. The film was a major commercial success, grossing more than $100m in the United States alone. The film would be Evans’ final work in the industry.
Evans was married seven times throughout his life but none of them lasted beyond three years.