Robert Evans, the legendary producer who gave the world Chinatown, The Godfather, Rosemary’s Baby, and more classic films, died this week at the age of 89.

In the 1960s, Evans ran production at Paramount Pictures, and his credits include many of the era’s most memorable movies. In addition to the first two Godfather films, Evans helped create The Italian Job, Harold and Maude, True Grit, and Love Story. As an actor, he appeared in The Sun Also Rises and The Best of Everything. Evans led an extremely colorful life, and during his decades in Hollywood, he often became the story. Dustin Hoffman played a character based on Evans in the 1997 dramedy Wag the Dog. More recently, his celebrated autobiography, The Kid Stays in the Picture, was adapted into a 2002 documentary of the same name that screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

After a storied career in Hollywood, Evans passed away from unspecified causes on Monday, October 28, according to The New York Times. Since the 1990s, Evans has suffered from a number of strokes. In his time at Paramount Pictures and as an independent producer, Evans developed a legendary reputation in Hollywood. For reference, in his obituary, The New York Times used phrases such as “cocaine blizzard”, “raging coke addict”, “financial ruin”, “Kafkaesque”, and “Gatsbyesque” to describe the Hollywood icon. But the last paragraph of Evans’ memoir describes him better than his fans or critics ever could.

As a producer, Evans was known for promoting substance over style and investing in promising young talent, which is why his run at Paramount Pictures produced so many classic films. He was also known for fighting with famous directors like Francis Ford Coppola. During the production of The Godfather, Evans and Coppola clashed as soon as the casting began. His tenure in Hollywood was marked by these kinds of disputes. An early acting role as a bullfighter in The Sun Also Rises led to an argument with writer Ernest Hemingway, who demanded Evans be cut from the film. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck famously responded, “The kid stays in the picture!”, which eventually became the title of Evans’ autobiography.

“Not unlike Popeye: ‘I yam what I yam, that’s all what I yam.’ Imperfect? Very! Do I like myself? Finally! Do my detractors bother me? Hell no! It’s their problem. I ain’t gonna change. Resolve: f*** ’em, f*** ’em all.”

Thanks to his turbulent history both on- and off-camera, Evans had a complicated reputation in Hollywood. However, years of sobriety, the enduring legacy of his many hit films, and his celebrated memoir and documentary helped cement his status as a genuine titan of filmmaking. With Robert Evans’ passing, the movie industry has lost one of the most crucial influences in cinema history.

Next: The Godfather’s Ending Explained (What Happens and What It All Means)

Source: The New York Times