An Academy Salute To Robert Evans
Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, motion picture director Brett Ratner, Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash (formerly of Guns N' Roses) and VARIETY editor-in-chief Peter Bart will take the stage at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' salute to legendary studio chief and producer Robert Evans on Thursday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening also will feature a 40th anniversary screening of the Academy Award-nominated thriller ROSEMARY'S BABY, a film that Evans brought to Paramount Pictures and oversaw through its production. The celebration will start with an onstage conversation featuring Evans' close friends -- Redstone, Ratner, Slash and Bart. "Bob has done it all in this business, with style and flair," said Academy President Sid Ganis. "When you get right down to it, he saved Paramount in the early 1970s. And he's got his finger on the pulse of popular culture, having an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what moviegoers want to see." Evans started in Hollywood as an actor. He was reportedly "discovered" by Norma Shearer, who thought that the young man at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool looked enough like her late husband Irving Thalberg to play him in MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES (1957). Twentieth Century-Fox studio executive Darryl Zanuck gave Evans a five-year acting contract. Evans' other notable roles include the bullfighter in THE SUN ALSO RISES (1957), opposite Ava Gardner, and playboy Dexter Key in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING (1959). In the mid-'60s he redirected his career and found success as the head of a studio. During his tenure at Paramount, Evans oversaw the production of several now-classic films, including THE ODD COUPLE (1968), TRUE GRIT (1969), LOVE STORY (1970), HAROLD AND MAUDE (1971), THE GODFATHER (1972), PAPER MOON (1973), THE CONVERSATION (1974) and THE GREAT GATSBY (1974). In the mid-'70s Evans moved into the role of full-time producer, leading such features as CHINATOWN (1974), MARATHON MAN (1976), BLACK SUNDAY (1977), URBAN COWBOY (1980), POPEYE (1980), THE COTTON CLUB (1984), THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS (1999) and HOW LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (2003) through the creative process. Evans received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture for CHINATOWN. Through his autobiography, THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, the film based on that book, his ongoing producing career and his reputation for a colorful personal life, Evans has become an icon to filmmakers and movie lovers alike. ROSEMARY'S BABY, written and directed by Roman Polanski, follows Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), an unsuspecting young wife whose husband (John Cassavetes) becomes involved with a coven of neighbors and their diabolical plans. Nominated for two Academy Awards, including Writing -- Screenplay based on material from another medium (Polanski), ROSEMARY'S BABY won an Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role (Ruth Gordon). This screening of ROSEMARY'S BABY will premiere a new print from Paramount Pictures. Tickets to "An Academy Salute to Robert Evans," featuring ROSEMARY'S BABY, are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office, or online at www.oscars.org. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call 310-247-3600.