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Robert Evans (1930 - 2019), legendary movie producer

Getty Images / Wireimage / Djamilla Rosa Cochran

Colorful Hollywood icon produced “Chinatown” and “Urban Cowboy”

Robert Evans was a legendary colorful movie producer who helmed the classic films “Chinatown” and “Urban Cowboy.” The actor turned movie executive was known for his larger-than-life personality in Hollywood. He was a Paramount executive starting in the 1960s and while there he oversaw “The Godfather” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” When Evans left Paramount to go out on his own, his first film was the noir mystery “Chinatown,” that starred Jack Nicholson. He was married at one time to actress Ali McGraw, who famously left Evans for actor Steve McQueen. His interesting life was featured in the 2002 documentary, “The Kid Stays in the Picture.”  

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Died: Saturday, October 26, 2019. (Who else died on October 26?

Details of death: Died at the age of 89.  


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“The Kid Stays in the Picture”: The famous saying regarding Evans has quite a back story. Evans was a handsome actor but not a very good one, he was very stiff on screen. He was cast as a bullfighter in the 1957 film adaption of Hemmingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” Evans was so bad, the other actors asked legendary Hollywood executive Darryl Zanuck to replace him but Zanuck famously replied, “The kid stays in the picture.” 

What they said about him: “Our son Joshua and I will miss Bob tremendously. We are so very proud of his enormous contribution to the film Industry. He will be remembered as a giant.” - Ali McGraw 

“I remember Bob Evans’ charm, good looks, enthusiasm, style, and sense of humor.” “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 realization 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.” - Francis Ford Coppola

“The end of an era glamorous Hollywood is slowly fading away #RobertEvans was one of the last of the greats.” - Sandra Bernhard 

Full obituary: The Boston Globe  

Related lives: 

Wayne Fitzgerald (1930 – 2019), designed title sequences for “The Godfather” 

John Cassavetes: Godfather of Indie Cinema 

Francois Truffaut, Cinema’s Wild Child