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Chinatown, Godfather producer Robert Evans no more

Chinatown, Godfather producer Robert Evans no more

Los Angeles: Robert Evans, whose charisma rivalled some of the actors who appeared in the hit films he produced, is no more. He was 89.

His publicist Monique Evans confirmed the news on October 28, reports CNN. As a studio head, Evans helped resurrect Paramount Pictures in the 1960s and 1970s by bringing such projects as Chinatown, The Godfather and Rosemary's Baby to the big screen.

Evans seemed to epitomise Hollywood excesses with his seven marriages, outspoken nature and freewheeling lifestyle that he documented in his 1994 memoir The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Born in New York City to a dentist and his wife, Evans was a child actor on radio and in the early years of television. When stardom eluded him, Evans took a job promoting sales for Evan-Picone, a clothing company co-owned by his brother, Charles.

He was working that gig when actor Norma Shearer spotted the good-looking Evans at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool. She lobbied for Evans to portray her late husband, MGM producer Irving Thalberg, in Man of a Thousand Faces, a 1957 film about Lon Chaney.

He also caught the eye of producer Darryl F Zanuck, who cast the young actor as the matador Pedro Romero in The Sun Also Rises, based on the classic Ernest Hemingway novel.

Evans wrote in his memoir that Hemingway and the cast's attempt to get him thrown off the picture led to the line he used to title his biography after producer Zanuck declared, the kid stays in the picture.

A few unsatisfying and unsatisfactory supporting roles would end his acting career and so, Evans turned to producing.

He served as production chief at Paramount for eight years. Evans told The New York Times he "was a bad executive" partially because he "would get very involved with just a few pictures, and I let a lot of other things pass".

Evans' tumultuous life also included pleading guilty to cocaine possession in 1980, after his brother and another man were arrested in a scheme that involved buying $19,000 of cocaine from a federal narcotics agent posing as a dealer.

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