Robert Chartoff


Producer

About

Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
August 26, 1933

Biography

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 ...

Family & Companions

Vanessa Howard
Wife
Married on July 3, 1970.

Biography

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.

Life Events

1967

First Chartoff-Winkler productions, "Double Trouble" and "Point Blank"

1969

Chartoff and Winkler shared producing duties with Sydney Pollack on "They Shoot Horse, Don't They?"

1971

First collaboration with actor Robert De Niro, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"

1976

Shared Best Picture Oscar with co-producer Winkler for "Rocky"

1977

First collaboration with director Martin Scorsese, "New York, New York", starring De Niro

1980

Shared Academy Award nomination (with Winkler) for Best Picture on Scorsese's "Raging Bull", starring De Niro

1981

Last collaboration with De Niro, "True Confessions"

1983

Produced the Oscar-nominated "The Right Stuff", directed by Philip Kaufman

1985

First film produced without Winkler, "Beer"

1990

Last collaboration with Winkler, "Rocky V"

1996

Interviewed on Bravo documentary, "Jackie Mason: An Equal Opportunity Offender"

Videos

Movie Clip

Nickelodeon (1976) - Ask For A German Bagel Ambitious Floridian Buck (Burt Reynolds), following a goofy lead to his second New York gig, enters a bakery that turns out to be a low-rent movie company (Gustav and Bertil Unger the twin proprietors), which gets raided by their bigger rivals, in Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon, 1976.
Nickelodeon (1976) - That Crab Is Pure Genius! Lawyer Harrigan (Ryan O'Neal), swept into the entourage of early-movie magnate Cobb (Brian Keith), becoming a screenwriter (supplanting Arnold Soboloff, and Don Calfa as "Waldo") then meeting Kathleen (superodel Jane Hitchcock in her only major movie role), in Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon, 1976.
Nickelodeon (1976) - Did You Say Court? From a prologue about early cinema, befuddled lawyer Harrigan (Ryan O'Neal), Jack Perkins his client, before the judge (Sidney Armus), then fleeing down an alley into the movie business, and a quick bit by Brian Keith, in Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon, 1976.
Split, The (1968) - I'll Blow Your Face Off After staging real-world encounters with Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Donald Sutherland and Warren Oates (as Klinger, Kifka, Negli and Gough) planner Gladys (Julie Harris) explains why heist-man McClain (Jim Brown) has brought them together, in The Split, 1968, also starring Gene Hackman.
Split, The (1968) - You Get The Parade SPOILER here in that the outcome of the heist and a murder are revealed, but also the introduction of Gene Hackman, about 70 minutes into the feature, as cop Brill, confronted by head thief McClain (Jim Brown), demanding to know what the cops know, in the all-star football-themed caper The Split, 1968.
Point Blank (1967) - I'm Glad You're Not Dead Lots of sound and editing flash as Walker (Lee Marvin, speaking not a word) finds his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker), who sided with his robbery partner who double-crossed and shot him, in an early scene from John Boorman's revenge-thriller Point Blank, 1967.
Point Blank (1967) - Most Accidents Happen... More technical virtuosity and crunching noise as Walker (Lee Marvin) takes used-car dealer "Big John" Stegman (Michael Strong) for a ride in John Boorman's landmark Point Blank, 1967.
Point Blank (1967) - Battle Of Alcatraz The second part of the opening of John Boorman's Point Blank, 1967, in which Walker (Lee Marvin), shot by his partner in crime, wakes up at abandoned Alcatraz as the credits roll, then appears on a tourist boat, shadowed by a mysterious Keenan Wynn.
Point Blank (1967) - Men Everywhere Walker (Lee Marvin) and Chris (Angie Dickinson), the sister of his late wife who betrayed him in a robbery scheme, casing the Huntley House (still operating, much gentrified) in Santa Monica, stalking the bad guys in John Boorman's Point Blank, 1967.
New York, New York (1977) - Was He Disturbing You? Martin Scorsese's staging of a VJ Day party in Manhattan, Laszlo Kovacs' camera, Jimmy Doyle (Robert DeNiro) on the make and Francine (Liza Minnelli) not biting, early in New York, New York, 1977.
Right Stuff, The (1983) - Did I Ever Let You Down? The first vignette with the first future astronaut, Gordon Cooper (Dennis Quaid) and wife Trudy (Pamela Reed) arriving Edwards Air Force Base, 1953, in The Right Stuff, 1983, from the Tom Wolfe book.
Right Stuff, The (1983) - That Guy! Watching Ed Sullivan during their mostly comic astronaut recruiting trip, the government guys (Harry Shearer and Jeff Goldblum) meet Marine pilot John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Navy flier Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn), in Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuf, 1983.

Trailer

Family

William Chartoff
Father
Bessie Chartoff
Mother
Jenifer Chartoff
Daughter
William Chartoff
Son
Production manager, location assistant. Worked on "Raging Bull" and "Rocky V".
Julie Chartoff
Daughter
Charley Chartoff
Son

Companions

Vanessa Howard
Wife
Married on July 3, 1970.

Bibliography