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SYFY WIRE obituary

Robert Evans, colorful Paramount boss behind Rosemary's Baby, dies at 89

By Jacob Oller
Robert Evans Getty

One of the most notorious producers in Hollywood, Robert Evans, has died at age 89, Variety reports. The man who steered Paramount away from disaster and to the very top of the film industry was a major voice of the film world from the 1960s through death on Saturday night, thanks to the autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture, its documentary adaptation, and his prolific Twitter presence.

Given the reins of Paramount Pictures with little experience in 1966 thanks to a friendship with corporate owner Gulf & Western's Charles Bluhdorn, Evans turned the company around thanks to a string of critical darlings that would eventually become classics. During his tenure as production VP, he oversaw genre fare like Rosemary's Baby, Don't Look Now, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Moving on from leading the studio, Evans personally produced movies like the adaptation of William Goldman's Marathon Man (starring Dustin Hoffman), Popeye (with Robin Williams), and early comic book film The Phantom. Some hit higher highs than others, but Evans was a constant presence in the industry.

However, his personal life became marred with scandals — a 1980 cocaine conviction and connection to murdered producer Roy Radin — which only made the eccentric and charismatic figure more fascinating to those in and outside the industry. Evans' real-life exploits led to an animated Comedy Central series in 2003, Kid Notorious, based on his outlandish and unique personality. He also voiced himself in a guest role on The Simpsons in 2000.

Evans, who continued working until his death, left a few projects unmade. The sci-fi graphic novel adaptation NYC2123 and Stan Lee-associated superhero project Foreverman are still in development, and now face a tough setback.