Alan Ladd Jr., the respected Hollywood producer and studio director who saved Star Wars when Fox wanted to stop production and be vindicated by accepting an Oscar for Brave Heart after being dumped by MGM, died. He was 84 years old.
Ladd, head of production at Fox, Pathe Entertainment and MGM (in two phases) and ran its own apparel, The Ladd Co., with great success, passed away Wednesday, his daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones said.
“With the heaviest hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd, Jr. passed away peacefully at home with his family,” she wrote on social media. “Words cannot express how deeply I miss him. His impact on films and filmmaking will continue to live on in his absence. ”
As a studio executive and producer, Ladd – son of screen idol Alan Ladd (This gun is for rent, Shane) – has 14 nominations for best photo. His mark can be found on engraved films such as Young Frankenstein (1974), Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Omen (1976), Break Away (1979), Body temperature (1981), Train (1981), Blade Runner (1982) and Moonstruck (In 1987).
Before it became fashionable, Ladd favored films with strong female-centric themes, including those by Robert Altman. 3 female (In 1977); Julia (1977), starring Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave; 11 times nominated for an Academy Award Turning point (In 1977); Paul Mazursky’s An unmarried woman (1978), starring Jill Clayburgh; Norma Rae (1979), earned Sally Field the Academy Award for Best Actress; and Bette The middle man plays the main role Roses (In 1979).
Ladd raised the bar by letting a woman be the main character in a big budget action movie starring Ridley Scott Alien (1979), played the lead role Sigourney Weaver, and he green Thelma & Louise (1991), an icon of feminist cinema Top by Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis.
An exception to the studio director or stereotype producer, who can be vulgar or duplicitous, Ladd is slow and soft-spoken, affectionately referred to as “Laddie” by colleagues and known for creating elegant yet commercial photographs.
“There are snakes in this business, and then there is Alan Ladd Jr.,” director Richard Donner once said.
In 2011, Ladd and Warner Bros. settled a lengthy lawsuit in which he claimed the studio underpaid his company millions of dollars in profits from a series of films including Blade Runner, Train and Police Academy movie.
He was born in Los Angeles on October 22, 1937, and was in fact raised on the properties of Paramount and Fox in Hollywood. While his father was starring in the pictures, he was walking around sound stage During his school holidays, he meets with his father in the evening after filming.
Ladd lived with his mother after their parents divorced, but her health was not good, and he returned to his father, who died of accidental drug and alcohol abuse in 1964 when Ladd Jr was 26 years old. basically non-existent. ”
As a boy in Beverly Hills, he worked as a cameraman so he could see Errol Flynn five and six times. He developed “Matinee’s Seventh Rule of thumb”, which includes three imperatives: root for the hero, boo the bad guy, and keep the pace fast.
Upon graduating from high school, he studied abroad for a year and a half with a tutor while his father was working in Europe. He returned to Los Angeles and enrolled at USC, where he played soccer and basketball.
Ladd started his film career as a stunt actor on his father’s movies Santiago (1956) and Six worms (In 1958).
In the early years 1960sLadd joined the Creative Management Association as a talent agent, repping people like Judy Garland, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty. He switched to independent production six years later and moved to London, where he produced nine films (including 1972’s Elizabeth. Taylor-star pellets X, Y and Zee).
Ladd returned to Los Angeles in 1973 to become the head of Fox’s creative department and quickly rose to become studio president.
During his tenure, Fox produced some of his most successful films, including Star Wars (1977), which he chose after Universal rejected it. He championed George Lucas’s film according to the wishes of the board of directors, and the film became one of the highest-grossing films in history.
“The only meeting I had with Laddie about the script… he said, ‘Listen, that doesn’t make any sense to me, but I trust you. Go ahead and make it. ‘ It’s just honesty,” Lucas once said. “I mean, it was a crazy movie. Now you can see it, know what it is, but before you can see it, there isn’t anything like it. You cannot explain it. You know… it’s like this furry dog piloting a spaceship. I mean, what is that? ”
When Lucas’s previous film American graffiti became a hit, the director’s agent, Jeff Berg, asked Fox to raise Star Wars fees of several hundred thousand dollars. Instead, Lucas offered to get the sequel rights, and when he got those rights, he traded them in for the franchise rights.
“When that deal was made,” Ladd said CHEAPby Gregg Kilday in 2018, “I said well. At that time, trading made no sense. Jaws has some sharks but that’s it. So we say, ‘Give him the goods and don’t give him a raise.’ “
Under his devoted guidance, Fox was very adventurous and became known as the A place for filmmakers. Altman, for example, turns out 3 female (1977), A Wedding (1978), Quartet (1979), A perfect couple (1979) and Health (1980) there.
With him at the helm of the set, Hollywood had its first female executive, Paula Weinstein, and its first African-American marketing director, Ashley Boone Jr. Ladd is also a delivery-advanced executive, pioneering the site select release model.
Ladd resigned from Fox in 1979, frustrated with the firmness of its chairman Dennis Stanfill, a former Lehman Bros. investment banker. He founded The Ladd Co., based at Warner Bros., with Fox associates Jay Kanter and Gareth Wigan. The company continues to produce Body temperature, Night shift (1982), Relevant content (1983) and Police Academy (1984) and won the domestic distribution rights to the ultimate winner of best photo Train.
With The Ladd Co. financial difficulty (Relevant content was a failure at a high cost at the box office), he closed the company and joined MGM/UA in 1983, where he reinvigorated the studio with successes such as Cosmic ball (1987), Moonstruck, Willow (1988), A fish called Wanda (1988) and Man in the rain (In 1988).
He moved to the Pathe Entertainment of Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, where he oversaw the production of films such as Russian house (1990), then returned to work for MGM a second time in 1991 after Pathe bought the studio from Kirk Kerkorian in a deal worth $1.36 billion.
After Parretti defaulted on more than $1 billion in loan payments, French bank Credit Lyonnais inherited MGM and ousted Ladd in favor of Frank Mancuso in July 1993. When Ladd threatened to file a breach of contract lawsuit, he was given 10 million dollars and was allowed to work with him two projects, one of which was Brave Heart.
Ladd re-established the Ladd Company through a production deal with Paramount, and Brave Heart won five Academy Awards, including an Academy Award for Ladd and directed by Mel Gibson, who also plays Scottish folk hero William Wallace.
Brave Heart represents a sweet return for Ladd.
“I guess it’s some kind of sweet justice,” he said to LA time after the 1996 Oscars. “If I were more eloquent, I would have thanked Credit Lyonnais for treating me so badly and allowing me to do this project. To be fair, MGM couldn’t afford to make this movie at the time. The most important thing possible. ”
“Laddie gets the last laugh,” producer and close friend Richard Zanuck told Times. “This is a great vindication. And I, like so many other people in town who adore him, were absolutely moved to see him win.”
The Ladd Company also produces Movie The Brady Bunch (1995), A Very Brady Sequel (1996) and The spectre (1996) at Paramount, and his recent production efforts include An unfinished life (2005) and Gone Baby Gone (2007).
Survivors include his second wife, Cindra, whom he married in 1985, daughters Kelliann, Tracy and Amanda, who directed and produced a 2021 documentary about the father. she has title Youth; and brother David. Another daughter, Chelsea, 34, died in March 2021.