Alan Ladd Jr.
- Category : Film - Producer
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 3
American film producer and the former president of 20th Century Fox, where he was the unsung hero beyond "Star Wars," helping to usher in the era of "women's movies." From a noted Hollywood family, he was the son of actor Alan Ladd and his first wife, Midge.
His folks separated when he was four years old. Laddie, as he is still called, was raised by his mom and her second husband, an aircraft technician named William Farnsworth. But the strongest influence on Laddie's career was his dad's second wife, a former starlet and ambitious agent named Sue Carol, who was known for a sharp appetite for business.
Laddie considered himself "too introverted" to be an actor. Shunning publicity, he worked as a talent agent for a number of years. He moved to London and produced several films, "The Walking Stick" and "A Severed Head and a Villain," among others - that didn't do well at the box office. His wife, Patti, a former dental hygienist, opened a boutique in London. In January 1973, Laddie returned home to work as a production executive at 20th Century Fox studios.
He was named president of Fox in 1976, and managed to get a $9 million budget for "Star Wars" approved, despite the studio's reluctance to produce it. The movie's consequent success cemented Ladd's position at Fox, and two years later, the smash success of "Alien" also helped. He was the first Hollywood executive of the 1970s to back a whole slate of films about women, including "Julia," "The Turning Point," "An Unmarried Woman" and "Norma Rae." In 1977, "Star Wars," "Julia," and "The Turning Point" were among the five nominees for Best Picture Oscar.
By 1977, Ladd had established himself as a major force in the film industry. In the summer of 1979, he became embroiled in a policy dispute with then-Fox chairman Dennis Stanfill. Ladd thought Fox's middle-level executives should share in the profits of "Star Wars," and Stanfill didn't agree. Ladd resigned as president, sending Fox's shares tumbling $2.25.
After he left Fox, he signed a production deal with Warner Brothers and formed The Ladd Company. From 1980 to 1984, The Ladd Company made five or six movies a year, including "Body Heat," "Outland" and "Blade Runner." One of his biggest coups at this time was the acquisition of "Chariots of Fire," which surprised everyone by winning the Academy Award for best picture in 1981. In the fall of 1983, he released two movies, "Star 80," and "The Right Stuff," which were not commercial hits, despite four Academy Awards for the latter. In 1984, the Ladd Company had its first big money maker, "Police Academy." A few weeks after its release, Ladd and Warner Brothers severed their four-year relationship. In 1985, a faltering MGM hired him as part of their top management.
He married the former Patricia Beasley in August 1959. The couple had three daughters.
His dad, Alan Ladd Sr. died l/29/1964 from a combination of sleeping pills and liquor. Laddie's mother, Midge, died in obscurity in April 1957.