Producer Alan Ladd Jr., father of the Star Wars saga, dies at 84

DISAPPEARANCE – Oscar winner for The Chariots of Fire and Braveheartproducer of The stuff of heroes, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, A Fish Called Wanda, he was one of Hollywood’s heavyweights.

Without him, Star Wars would never have seen the light of day. American producer Alan Ladd Jr. died on Wednesday March 2 “peacefully at home surrounded by his family” at the age of 84. “Words cannot express how deeply we will miss him. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence,” shared her youngest daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones on social media.

Born in 1937 in Los Angeles, Alan Ladd Jr. took an early interest in the seventh art. His father, actor Alan Ladd (The Man of the Lost Valleys, The Blue Dahlia) makes him work as a stuntman on his films santiago (1956) and The Deep Six (1958) before becoming the agent of Warren Beatty and Robert Redford. Propelled to the rank of director of the production company 20th Century Fox, Alan Ladd Jr. met George Lucas in 1973. Although his first film THX-1138 is a failure, the producer makes a decision that no one else wanted: to finance the first film in the saga of Star Wars in 1977, then operated as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

His years at the head of 20th Century Fox over, Ladd son decided to found his own production company, The Ladd Company, in 1979. He operates there Twice Upon a Timeproduced by George Lucas, and other films recognized as The Chariots of Fire (Oscar for best film in 1982), The stuff of heroes, outland, blade runner or Braveheart by Mel Gibson (Oscar for best film in 1996). By producing the thriller Gone Baby Gone in 2007, Ladd Jr. allows Ben Affleck to launch his career as a director.

Sidney Poitier, Alan Ladd Jr., Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey at the 68th Academy Awards in 1996. Globe Photos/ZUMA/ABACA

President of MGM from 1985, Alan Ladd Jr. once again finds George Lucas for the film Willow that it produces. He works with directors Charles Crichton for A fish named Wanda and Ridley Scott for Thelma and Louise . The roles are reversed in 2017, when Alan Ladd Jr. is the subject of a documentary. Entitled Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies and directed by his daughter, it traces the career of the producer behind Star Wars and some 163 other films, which the movie world affectionately dubs “Laddie.”

“I will be eternally grateful to him”

At the announcement of his disappearance, George Lucas could only pay tribute to his guardian angel. He spoke in a press release relayed by The Hollywood Reporter .

Laddie loved movies and believed in filmmakers. He was one of the few executives to focus on the person rather than the project. Without Laddie, there would be no Star Wars. He didn’t understand what Star Wars was, but he believed in me and supported my vision. Quiet and thoughtful, he had an independent spirit that gave so many storytellers a chance. He stood up to the studios and followed his instincts. Laddie took a great personal and professional risk for Star Wars and for me, and I will be forever grateful to her.

George Lucas in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter on March 2.

On Instagram, the team of Industrial Light & Magic, a studio founded in 1975 by George Lucas to create special effects for Star Wars, paid a final tribute to the man who believed in the success of the saga from the start. . “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Alan Ladd Jr. Alan was a pioneer and a dear friend. Its impact on Star Wars cannot be underestimated”can we read.


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