Alan Ladd Jr, ‘Braveheart’ producer and Oscar winner, dead at 84

Mel Gibson, right, accepts the award for Best Picture for

NEW YORK — Alan Ladd Jr., the Oscar-winning producer and studio boss who as a 20th Century Fox executive greenlit “Star Wars,” has died. He was 84.

Ladd died Wednesday, his daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, who directed the documentary “Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies,” wrote in a Facebook post. No cause of death was given.

Ladd Jr., the son of “Shane” star Alan Ladd, started in the film business as his father’s stuntman but rose to become one of its leading — and most widely liked — executives. As studio head at Fox and MGM (twice), Ladd — affectionately known as “Laddie” — was involved in some 14 best-picture nominees, including “Young Frankenstein” (1974), “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), “Chariots of Fire” (1981) and “Blade Runner” (1982). As an independent producer, Ladd Jr. helped steer films including “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984), “The Right Stuff” (1983) “Gone, Baby Gone” (2007) and Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” (1995), for which he won best picture.

All told, films Ladd produced or greenlit movies that won more than 50 Oscars and 150 nominations. And he did so with an easy-going, tight-lipped manner that made him widely admired by stars and filmmakers. Esquire magazine put him on the cover in 1978 with the headline: “Triumph of the Laid-Back Style.”

Alan Ladd Jr., and Cindra Ladd at a movie premiere in Los Angeles in October 2007.

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A former talent agent for stars like Robert Redford and Judy Garland, Ladd Jr. joined 20th Century Fox in 1973, and later became president. There, he greenlit George Lucas’ $10 million science-fiction film — the original script was titled “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1, Star Wars” — when few in Hollywood saw any potential in it.






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