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|Also Known As:||Bob Evans,Bobby Evans,Robert Shapera,Robert J. Evans||Died:|
|Born:||June 29, 1930||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||New York City, New York, USA||Profession:||Producer ... producer actor radio performer executive film teacher clothing manufacturer|
g, in 1998. Evans next produced and appeared in the documentary "The Last Mogul" (2005), which detailed the life and career of former talent agent and studio executive, Lew Wasserman. Meanwhile, Evans appeared in spirit on the popular Hollywood series "Entourage" (HBO, 2004- ), in the form of Bob Ryan (Martin Landau), a legendary film producer fallen on hard times who is looking to make a comeback. Though initially offered to play the role himself, Evans bowed out, but graciously offered his Beverly Hills mansion as a location.lying Evans could count as his own.
Evans next steered the financially successful, but critically underappreciated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgeraldâ¿¿s iconic novel, "The Great Gatsby" (1974), which starred Robert Redford as the self-made Gatsby, Mia Farrow as the superficial Daisy Buchanan, and Sam Waterston as the naÃ¯ve Nick Carraway. Working again with the excitable Coppola, Evans helped shepherd "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "The Conversation" (1974) to the big screen. Both were hits, both were critically hailed, and both became staples of 1970s cinema. But it was "The Godfather, Part II" which earned the greatest distinction after winning six Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture. Evans left the studio top spot and became an independent producer in 1974, a highly successful stint that started with producing director Roman Polanski's classic neo-noir "Chinatown" (1974), a lush, cynical and serpentine neo-noir set in 1930s Los Angeles. The film starred Evansâ¿¿ close friend, Jack Nicholson, who portrayed Jake Gittes, a dogged private eye whose search for the murderer of a water department official pulls him into a much darker and more sordid scandal involving the officialâ¿¿s wife (Faye Dunaway) and her despicable father (John Houston). After receiving 11 Academy Award nominations, "Chinatown" only took home one for Robert Towneâ¿¿s Best Original Screenplay. Nonetheless, the film was considered to be one of the best ones made in that period, while Towneâ¿¿s script was held up as being the best ever written.
Evans continued his unparalleled run with the John Schlesinger thriller "Marathon Man" (1976), starring another longtime pal, Dustin Hoffman, who later had a falling out with the producer over his undeniable impersonation of Evans with his character in "Wag the Dog" (1997). He moved on to produce John Frankenheimer's popular thriller "Black Sunday" (1977), which featured a stunning climactic scene involving a blimp at the Super Bowl, and the rather underwhelming romantic drama, "Players" (1979), which starred ex-wife Ali McGraw â¿¿ a film he made while in the midst of a divorce with another wife, former Miss America Phyllis George. Evans entered the next decade on a high note with the country-themed hit "Urban Cowboy" (1980), which capitalized on the then massive popularity of its star, John Travolta, while generating a soundtrack some claimed help propel interest in the pop-country phenomenon that soon followed. But cracks began to appear in Evansâ¿¿ seemingly impervious faÃ§ade when he produced director Robert Altman's unsuccessful and highly-ridiculed take on "Popeye" (1980), starring Robin Williams as the big-armed sailor who is fond of his spinach. Also that year, Evans ran into legal trouble when he was arrested and later convicted on a misdemeanor cocaine charge. Sentenced to probation, he was given the chance to wipe the slate clean with an anti-drug film called "Get High on Yourself" (1981), which he financed with his own money and cast with several famous actor friends.
Regardless of his public condemnation of drugs, Evans continued his habit unabated. In 1983, he became embroiled in further scandal while in the middle of making the period gangster piece, "The Cotton Club" (1984) with Francis Ford Coppola, when his business partner on the project, Roy Radin, was found murdered. Right from the start, "The Cotton Club" appeared doomed to failure. Initially, Evans wanted to direct the film himself, but decided not to and brought in a hopelessly broke Coppola in at the eleventh hour. Having spent some $13 million before Coppola even appeared, Evans resorted to finding money any way he could, including from notorious Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who was later complicit in the Iran-contra scandal. The budget ballooned to almost $50 million â¿¿ a fortune at the time â¿¿ while Evans became briefly implicated in Radinâ¿¿s slaying (In 1991, cocaine dealer Karen Greenberger and three bodyguards were convicted of the crime). The film released to lackluster box office totals, throwing Evans into deep despair, which became exacerbated due to giving trial testimony and the fact that he was now flat broke.
Following an extended hiatus, Evans returned to active producing and corralled Nicholson to direct and star in the inferior, but interesting "Chinatown" sequel, "The Two Jakes" (1990), which failed to capture the attention of anyone at the time and fared poorly at the box office. He moved on to the Sharon Stone erotic thriller, "Sliver" (1993), which was nearly universally panned by critics while performing fairly well in theaters. Evans continued making critically maligned flops with "Jade" (1995), an erotic thriller from the juvenile mind of Joe Eszterhas that starred David Caruso as an assistant D.A. drawn into a murder case involving a sultry psychologist (Linda Fiorentino) and her prominent attorney husband (Chazz Palminteri). Though he received some critical kudos for the comic strip adaptation of "The Phantom" (1996), they were not enough to boost ticket sales. Critics lashed out at his next project, "The Saint" (1997), which starred Val Kilmer as amateur detective, Simon Templar, a character featured in a long-running book series that was previously turned into films, a radio show and even a successful British television series. Unable to rekindle his magic from the 1970s, Evans struck out again with a rather limp remake of the comedy classic, "The Out-of-Towners" (1999), starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.
Though fallen out of prominence for some time, Evans' illustrious career again came to the forefront with the documentary "The Kid Stays in the Picture" (2002). Based on the producer's life as told in his revealing 1994 autobiography and narrated by Evans himself, the documentary pulled no punches in detailing his outlandish adventures in show business. The title referred to his near-firing from his role in "The Sun Also Rises," a job that was saved by studio head, Darryl Zanuck, who watched Evans' first take and made a portentous decree: "The kid stays in the picture." The book itself was already a hit with Hollywood insiders, particularly the audio version that was narrated by Evans himself. The project came about when rising documentarian team Brett Morgen and Nanette Berstein worked with Evans â¿¿ who was in the midst of recuperating from a debilitating stroke â¿¿ in capturing the producerâ¿¿s chaotic, but always fascinating life on film. Kaleidoscopic, mesmerizing, and entirely subjective, "The Kid Stays in the Picture" was roundly praised by critics, while opening a re-exploration into his works and creating an air of pseudo-celebrity that could only be best described as the Cult of Evans.
The popularity of the film even led Evans and Morgen to develop the animated series, "Kid Notorious" (Comedy Central, 2003-04), which adapted anecdotes from his life into wild cartoon exploits that mixed "South Park"-style scatological gags with snarky, knowing Hollywood insider humor. He also returned to the producing game with the romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003), a minor hit that proved star Kate Hudson's box office appeal in lightweight fare. Ever the lothario, Evans married in 2002 for a sixth time to Leslie Ann Woodward, a union that was dissolved after a mere eight months, though it was nothing compared to his nine-day marriage to previous wife, actress Catherine Oxenber and w
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