In Robert Evans’s 1994 autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture, the late Paramount producer recalls a pivotal childhood memory: He’s a teenager, in bed at his parents’ apartment, with Patty Wheeler — daughter of the famous comedian Bert and, at 18, “already the toast of Broadway.” Suddenly, he writes, their encounter is disrupted by Evans’s family’s housekeeper, who rather inelegantly admonishes young Bobby for hiding out in his bedroom with “some tramp” (who, by the way, doesn’t know he’s a mere 14). Later, his father rewards him for such debauchery with a smack across the face and the lesson sinks in. If Evans — who’d go on to become the big-shot Hollywood executive behind movies like The Godfather and Chinatown — wanted to seduce women, he’d have to do it outside the familial home.
Sex is a persistent theme in Evans’s book, which New York Magazine reprinted in part in July of ’94. The excerpt begins with a full-length photo of a topless Evans and his equally topless girlfriend, an apt introduction to a man whose life was a series of decadent, hedonistic affairs — divorces, a cocaine bust, a murder trial — punctuated by big professional swings and bigger payoffs — Rosemary’s Baby, Serpico, The Great Gatsby, Harold and Maude, Marathon Man. “It ain’t been dull,” he writes, reflecting on his life and career. “You name ’em, I’ve met ’em — well, almost. Either worked with ’em, fought with ’em, hired ’em, fired ’em, laughed with ’em, cried with ’em, figuratively fucked by ’em, literally fucked ’em. It’s been one hell of a ride.”
In memory of Evans — who died on Saturday night at the age of 89 — we’re republishing the story here: