Alan Ladd Jr.
October 22, 1937
Los Angeles, California, United States
Producer, Agent, Studio executive
Cindra Ladd, Patricia Ann Ladd
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.Born on Oct. 22, 1937 in Los Angeles, he was the son of Marjorie Jane Harrold and actor Alan Ladd, the brooding star of such films as "This Gun for Hire" (1942) and "The Blue Dahlia" (1946). After his parents' separation and divorce, Ladd lived with his mother for several years before joining his father and his second wife, former agent and actress Sue Carol, in his teens. More interested in the process that took place behind the camera than in front of it, after high school Ladd studied business administration at the University of Southern California. With Cold War tensions in Eastern Europe reaching the boiling point, Ladd, who had recently left USC, was called to duty by the Air Force Reserves during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. With an expanded world view, Ladd later returned to the U.S. and Hollywood, where he took on a low-level job at Creative Management Associates. By the mid-1960s Ladd had risen through the ranks to become one of the agency's top talent agents, representing entertainment luminaries like Judy Garland as well as such up-and-comers as Warren Beatty and Robert Redford. Within five years, Ladd was ready for a new challenge so he left Creative Management in 1969 and made the move to London to try his hand as an independent film producer.Partnering up with Elliott Kastner, Ladd's debut as a producer was on "The Walking Stick" (1970), a romantic crime drama starring David Hemmings and Samantha Eggar. Later adding producer Jay Kanter into the mix, Ladd and his partners went on to work with stars like Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine on such projects as the gangster tale "Villain" (1971), the supernatural thriller "The Nightcomers" (1971), and the love triangle drama "X, Y and Zee" (1972). With the British film industry in decline, Ladd was ready to return stateside when 20th Century Fox invited him to run their creative affairs department in 1973. Ladd's rise at the studio was, to say the least, meteoric. Within a year he was made Vice President of Worldwide Productions and by 1976 Ladd had been installed as President of 20th Century Fox. "Young Frankenstein" (1974), "The Towering Inferno" (1974) and "The Omen" (1976) were only a handful of the titles Ladd shepherded through production during his climb to the top. It was also around this time that a young filmmaker named George Lucas caught Ladd's attention and convinced the studio c