March 20, 2023

Lavish Lizard

Once Upon A Time In Old Hollywood

Robert Evans Paramount Demise and Rise Part One

2 min read
robert evans
Robert Evans with Clint Eastwood

Robert Evans was the head of Paramount Pictures at the very end of the old Hollywood era. He took over pretty much when It was on a major demise and on fumes. He was the kind of guy they needed at this point to try to rejuvenate the struggling studio. Which was in last placed behind MGM, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, United Artist and Twentieth Century Fox .

Large hits by Paramount saved the studio

The major rise in the studio was around 1968 with hits as The Odd Couple, Rosemary Baby ,Romeo and Juliet. Then by the early 1970’s Paramount was back on top with mega smash hit with. Love Story Starring Ryan O’Neal, with Evans then wife Ali McGraw, and the the monster Godfather. I read a book called the Kid Stays In The Picture. Which chronicled his meteoric rise from clothing manufacture in the 1950’s to actor, then studio head. The documentary film soon followed. Very good book, and film.

Studio heads traditionally share in the profit in films

While recovering from a stroke Robert Evans was at the same hospital where Frank Sinatra died. Robert Evans was about two rooms down and witness his body being carried away. Which was very interesting as a side note. The problem with Evans, and he stated in his book that he was pretty much an employee unlike Samuel Goldwyn, Irving Thalberg or Darryl Zanuck, who were heads of their prospective studios or shared very large percent points of the gross of each film.

Robert Evans clashed with Paramount Pictures chairman Charles Bluhdorn

As the President of Paramount Robert Evans on the other hand was paid a salary and did not receive a percentage of the gross of the films he was in charge of as a President of Paramount Pictures. One of the biggest issues Robert Evans had as The President of the studio, was the owner of the studio it’s self industrialist Charles Bluhdorn. He was the owner of a company called Gulf and Western Industries which was the parent of Paramount Pictures, and he ruled the studio with a serious iron fist.

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