Oscar-winning ‘Braveheart’ producer Alan Ladd Jr. has died aged 84

Responsible for numerous Hollywood classics, he was also credited as the man who commissioned George Lucas to create 'Star Wars'

Alan Ladd Jr, the veteran film producer who won a Best Picture Oscar for Braveheart and commissioned George Lucas to write Star Wars, has died today at the age of 84.

His daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, who directed the 2017 feature documentary Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies, wrote on social media: “With the heaviest of hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd, Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family.

“Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence.”

His brother, David Ladd, also shared the news on his Facebook. “My brother, my friend, my hero, who always stood by my side. We will stand together again on the other side! I love you Laddie,” he wrote.

‘Laddie’, as he was known in the industry, was responsible for numerous Hollywood classics as a producer and studio boss, including Alien, Blade Runner, The Omen, All That Jazz, and Chariots Of Fire. Overall, his films earned more than 50 Academy Awards, including two Best Picture wins, and more than 150 nominations.

In 1996, Ladd won an Academy Award for Best Picture for producing Mel Gibson’s Scottish epic Braveheart.

The former Fox executive has also been credited as the one who greenlit and subsequently supported Star Wars in the 1970s, even when the studio was pushing to scrap the original film due to budgeting concerns. “Laddie was one of the few people that actually said, ‘I trust the artist,” Lucas said of the producer.

Born in Los Angeles as the son of film noir legend Alan Ladd Sr, the Oscar winner began his career as a talent agent at Creative Management Associates in 1963, developing the careers of screen legends including Judy Garland, Warren Beatty and Robert Redford.

In 1976, seven years after moving to London, he was named studio president of 20th Century Fox. After being enamoured with Lucas’ teen hit American Graffiti, Ladd asked the director if he had other ideas for a new film, leading to their first discussion of Star Wars.

Ladd joined MGM Studios in 1985, where he produced A Fish Called Wanda, Moonstruck and Thelma & Louise, among others.

Ladd is survived by his three children: Ladd-Jones and her sisters, Kelliann and Tracy Ladd. His daughter Chelsea died in March 2021 at the age of 34.