Alan Ladd Jr.
The son of movie star Alan Ladd, Alan Ladd, Jr. forged an impressive legacy of his own as a maverick producer and studio head responsible for several of the greatest films of the late-20th century. A former Hollywood talent agent, Ladd began his career as a producer in the United Kingdom on mid-range genre films like "The Walking Stick" (1970) and "Villain" (1971). Returning home to work at 20th Century Fox, Ladd oversaw such hits as "Young Frankenstein" (1974) on his way to being named studio chief. Among his more memorable achievements was the shepherding of such genre-defining classics as "Star Wars" (1977) and "Alien" (1979) through the haphazard production process. Soon after, he formed The Ladd Company, where he produced films like the Oscar-winning "Chariots of Fire" (1981) and the iconic futuristic thriller "Blade Runner" (1982). Unfortunately, the box office failure of "The Right Stuff" (1983) contributed to the shuttering of The Ladd Company in the mid-1980s, although as Chairman of MGM/UA, Ladd continued to greenlight a series of instant classics, including "Moonstruck" (1987) and "Thelma and Louise" (1991). Resurrecting The Ladd Company under Paramount, Ladd garnered another Oscar for Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" (1995) and continued his success with "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995) and its sequel before returning to work as an independent producer on such films as director Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone" (2007). Revered for his keen eye for talent and unwavering standards, Ladd's reputation as one of Hollywood's top producers was well deserved.