Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans has died. The tinseltown exec behind such films as Chinatown and The Godfather was 89.
Evans got his start as an actor in the 1950s but soon decided he was more suited to working behind the camera. As the head of production at Paramount, he helped the studio deliver films like Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, Barefoot in the Park, and Harold and Maude. Later, as an independent producer, he worked to bring movies like Chinatown and Urban Cowboy to the big screen.
But Evans was far from a staid executive. The former executive at clothing company Evan-Picone was discovered by actress Norma Shearer when he was hanging out poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel. His personal life generated tabloid headlines when Ali McGraw (his third of seven wives) left him for Steve McQueen. Later a cocaine addiction derailed his career, which was further hampered by the 1984 murder of his business partner Roy Radin, with whom he was working on Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club.
With a life that seemed ripped from the pages of a particularly pulpy screenplay, it’s no surprise that the story of Evans’s rise, fall, and comeback eventually became a movie.
‘The Kid Stays in the Picture’ is a documentary based on Evans’s memoir.
In 1994, Evans published a memoir, The Kid Stays in the Picture. The title comes from an incident early in his career, when he was playing a bullfighter in the 1957 adaptation of The Sun Also Rises. The other actors reportedly wanted him fired, but producer Darryl Zanuck disagreed, sending a telegram that read, “The kid stays in the picture.” In the book, Evans regales readers with stories of his memorable career in show business.
In 2002, Evans’s memoir was turned into a documentary film of the same name directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen. The well-reviewed portrait of a larger-than-life Hollywood figure is rated 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Where to watch ‘The Kid Stays in the Picture’
For anyone interested in Hollywood history, The Kid Stays in the Picture is a must-watch. The 90-minute film isn’t on Netflix or Hulu. However, you can rent it for $3.99 on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and iTunes. It’s also included with a Starz subscription.
Once you watch the film, head over to Netflix, where you can stream the Documentary Now! episode “Mr. Runner Up: My Life As an Oscar Bridesmaid.” The spoof features Bill Hader as a Evans-like character named Jerry Wallach.
Celebrities remember Evans
Francis Ford Coppola sometimes clashed with Evans professionally, but he spoke warmly of him after his death. “I remember Bob Evans’ charm, good looks, enthusiasm, style, and sense of humor,” the director told Variety. “He had strong instincts as evidenced by the long list of great films in his career … May the kid always stay in the picture.”
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