Oscar-Winning Producer Alan Ladd Jr. Dies at 84

Alan Ladd Jr, the veteran film producer who won a Best Picture Oscar for Braveheartcommissioned George Lucas to write Star Wars and was an influential executive for Fox and MGM/United Artists, died today, his family said. He was 84.

His daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, who directed the 2017 feature documentary Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies wrote on social media: “With the heaviest of hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd, Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence.”

Along with Star Wars and Braveheart, Ladd was responsible for such Hollywood classics as a producer and studio boss, including AlienBlade RunnerThe Omen, All That Jazz, Norma Rae, Chariots of FireThelma & Louise and Young Frankenstein.

Overall, his films earned more than 50 Academy Awards — including two Best Picture wins — and more than 150 nominations.

“If you gotta work for a studio boss, he was it,” Brooks said in Laddie.

Ladd was born on October 22, 1937, in Los Angeles and grew up in the industry as the son of Shane and The Great Gatsby star Alan Ladd. He began producing films in the early 1970s after getting his start in the business as a motion picture talent agent at Creative Management Associates. His client list included such heavyweights as Judy Garland, Warren Beatty and Robert Redford. Ladd later relocated to London, where he produced nine features in four years.

A man of few words relative to the industry’s chattering norms and with a low-key style, Ladd was in his mid-30s when he returned to Los Angeles in 1973 to serve as Head of Creative Affairs at Twentieth Century Fox. He rose through the ranks quickly and was named studio president in 1976. Soon after joining Fox, he was intrigued by a then-unreleased American Graffiti and sought a meeting with its young director, George Lucas, to see if he has any ideas for another film.

Lucas outlined a character-driven outer-space epic. Despite little precedent for such a movie, Ladd loved the idea and commissioned Lucas to write what would become Star Wars. 

“Laddie was one of the few people that actually said, ‘I trust the artist,” Lucas said in the documentary.

Oscar-Winning Producer Alan Ladd Jr. Dies at 84

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