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Overview for Robert Chartoff
Robert Chartoff

Robert Chartoff



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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 26, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Producer ... producer lawyer agent personal manager


With producing partner Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff oversaw some of the biggest box office and critical hits of the 1970s and '80s, including "Rocky" (1976), "Raging Bull" (1980) and "The Right Stuff" (1983). Born Robert Irwin Chartoff on August 26, 1933 in The Bronx, New York, he was the son of musician William Chartoff and his wife, Bessie. He earned an introduction to show business through an uncle who worked as an agent and manager for talent performing in the Catskills resorts. Chartoff initially attended Columbia University to study law, but abandoned his schooling to launch his own theatrical management company with friend Irwin Winkler, then at the William Morris Agency. After viewing John Schlesinger's "Darling" (1965), they began representing its star, Julie Christie, and arranged for her screen test for David Lean's "Doctor Zhivago" (1965). Two years later, Chartoff and Winkler formed their own production company, Chartoff-Winkler Productions, and landed a deal at MGM, which distributed their first effort (with Judd Bernard), the Elvis Presley vehicle "Double Trouble" (1967). That same year, they produced the first of two adaptations of author Donald Westlake's crime novels: "Point Blank" (1967) was a surreal action-drama with Lee Marvin as a vengeful criminal, which was followed by "The Split" (1968), a heist film starring Jim Brown and Ernest Borgnine. The films, which put eclectic spins on traditional genre stories, set the tone for Chartoff and Winkler's subsequent productions. Their slate in the late '60s and early '70s ranged from the dark Depression-era drama "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969), which netted eight Oscar nominations, and solid action efforts like "The New Centurions" (1972) and "The Mechanic" (1972) with Charles Bronson, to offbeat fare like "Leo the Last" (1970), with Marcello Mastroianni and "Up the Sandbox" (1972) with Barbra Streisand. In 1976, Chartoff read a script about a club fighter by aspiring actor Sylvester Stallone, which he decided to not only fund, but also support Stallone's desire to play the leading role. "Rocky" (1976) became one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, and led to a four-decade franchise, as well as Stallone's enduring superstardom. The following year, he backed Martin Scorsese's music drama "New York, New York" (1977), which proved a box office failure, but their next collaboration, "Raging Bull" (1980), about real-life boxer Jake La Motta, received eight Oscar nominations, including their second Best Picture nod and became a modern classic. In 1983, Chartoff and Winkler scored another Best Picture nomination for "The Right Stuff," an adaptation of Tom Wolfe's study of the Mercury space program. The Philip Kaufman epic proved to be Chartoff and Winkler's last successful collaboration; they parted ways in 1985, after which Chartoff served as producer on a slew of modest film efforts, including Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" (2010) with Helen Mirren and "Ender's Game" (2013), a proposed science fiction franchise with Harrison Ford that failed to generate much audience interest. Chartoff's name was listed as producer (along with Winkler) on all of the subsequent "Rocky" sequels, including "Creed" (2015), which teamed Stallone with the grandson of his former adversary, Apollo Creed. The picture was in post-production when Chartoff died of pancreatic cancer on June 10, 2015.

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