Alan Ladd Jr., who gave the green light to ‘Star Wars’, dies at the age of 84

As head of studies at Fox and MGM, he has been involved in 14 Best Picture nominees, including “Young Frankenstein,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and “Blade Runner.”

NEW YORK – Died Alan Ladd Jr., the Oscar-winning producer and head of the studio who as a 20th Century Fox executive gave the green light to “Star Wars.” He was 84 years old.

Ladd passed away Wednesday, his daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, who directed the documentary “Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies,” wrote in a Facebook post. No cause of death was reported.

Ladd Jr., the son of “Shane” star Alan Ladd, started in the film business as his father’s specialist, but became one of its top executives, and he liked it the most. As head of studies at Fox and MGM (twice), Ladd, affectionately known as “Laddie”, was involved in about 14 nominations for best film, including “Young Frankenstein” (1974), “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975). . “Chariots of Fire” (1981) and “Blade Runner” (1982). As an independent producer, Ladd Jr. helped direct films such as “Once Upon a Time in America” ​​(1984), “The Right Stuff” (1983), “Gone, Baby Gone” (2007) and “Braveheart” by Mel Gibson (1995), for which won best film.

In total, films produced by Ladd or films that have won more than 50 Oscars and 150 nominations. And he did it in a casual, tight-lipped way that made him much admired by stars and filmmakers. Esquire magazine put it on the cover in 1978 with the headline: “Triumph of the Laid-Back Style”.

Former talent agent for stars such as Robert Redford and Judy Garland, Ladd Jr. he joined 20th Century Fox in 1973, and later became president. There, he gave the green light to George Lucas’ $ 10 million science fiction film – the original script was titled “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1, Star Wars” – when few in Hollywood saw potential in it. .

Lucas once recalled his encounter with Ladd, whose faith in the filmmaker began with a first screening of Lucas’ “American Graffiti” before its premiere.

“The only reason it started working was that Alan liked ‘American Graffiti’ and said, ‘I don’t understand this movie, I don’t understand it at all, but I think you’re a talented guy and I want you to do it,'” Lucas said. in Tom Shone’s 2004 book “Blockbuster”.

Even as the studio’s confidence faltered in “Star Wars,” Ladd maintained his confidence in what would become one of the highest-grossing films ever made. His only false move may have been to grant Lucas marketing rights instead of an increase when “American Graffiti.” it became a success.

“My biggest contribution to ‘Star Wars’ was keeping my mouth shut and standing next to the picture,” Ladd told Variety.

“Star Wars” wasn’t the only classic science fiction movie Ladd received on Fox. Ladd also supported “Alien”. But the same year that the 1979 film was released, after confronting Fox President Dennis Stanfill, Ladd left to form independent production company Ladd Co.

On his own, Ladd produced, in addition to “The Right Stuff” and “Blade Runner,” films such as “Body Heat” and “Police Academy.”

But Ladd Co., burdened by some disappointments and high budgets for movies like “The Right Stuff,” struggled to be profitable. In the mid-1980s, Ladd moved to MGM, which he eventually led. His two periods in the studio were less successful than his time on Fox, but his films there included “Moonstruck” (1987), “Rain Man” (1988), “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988) and “Thelma”. & Louise “(1991).

When a loan default put MGM in the hands of Credit Lyonnais, the French bank sharply evicted Ladd, who eventually received $ 10 million to terminate his contract and two projects to take with him. Choose “Braveheart”.

When “Braveheart” won Best Picture, some saw it as much admired Ladd – Richard Donner once said “There are snakes in this business and then there’s Alan Ladd” – leaving the last laugh.

“I suppose it’s kind of sweet justice,” Ladd told the Los Angeles Times in 1996. afford to make this movie at that time. Paramount could. “

However, Ladd was never known for his eloquence. When he, as one of the three producers, accepted the Oscar, his whole speech was: “I would like to thank my family. Thank you.”

Ladd is survived by his wife, Cindra Pincock; children Kelliann, Tracy and Amanda; half-brother, David Ladd; half-sister, Alana Ladd; and his sister, Carol Lee Stuart-Ladd.

Alan Ladd Jr., who gave the green light to ‘Star Wars’, dies at the age of 84

Source link Alan Ladd Jr., who gave the green light to ‘Star Wars’, dies at the age of 84

Back to top button