Actor Mark Hamill is paying tribute to the late Alan Ladd Jr.
Without Ladd, it can be argued that Hamill would never have gotten a chance to play the iconic character of Jedi Luke Skywalker on screen.
Alan Ladd Jr. Passed Away In His Home At 84
Alan Ladd Jr. was one of a kind. He was perhaps the best studio chief ever to run a film company. He was always there with love and support for me and my films. Laddie was special. I will miss him very much.
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) March 3, 2022
Alan Ladd Jr.’s family reported that he had passed away peacefully in his home on March 2, 2022. He was 84 years old. The one-time President of Twentieth Century Fox had championed the original “Star Wars” film in 1977, even though nothing like it had ever been seen before.
Ladd, or Laddie to friends, first met director George Lucas in 1973. Ladd was a big fan of Lucas’ “American Graffiti,” even though it hadn’t hit theaters yet. Ladd immediately set up a meeting with Lucas, and it was at that meeting that Lucas pitched his idea for a space opera called “The Star Wars.” Although it was met with skepticism by other Fox producers, Ladd continued to express his support for Lucas and the film. After its release in 1977, “Star Wars” became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
RIP Alan Ladd, Jr., the ONE studio executive who had faith in George Lucas and his “Flash Gordon thing.” It was Ladd who would keep studio suits off Lucas’s back as he blew through his budget—and even if he didn’t always understand Star Wars, he always believed in Lucas. pic.twitter.com/oOeAnTR8SL
— Brian Jay Jones (@brianjayjones) March 2, 2022
George Lucas said, “Laddie loved film and believed in filmmakers. He was one of the few executives who bet on the person rather than the project.”
“Without Laddie there would be no Star Wars,” he continued. “He didn’t understand what Star Wars was about, but he believed in me and supported my vision. Quiet and thoughtful, he had an independent spirit that gave so many storytellers a chance. He stood up to the studios and went with his gut instinct.”
He concluded, “Laddie took a great personal and professional risk on Star Wars, and on me, and for that I will be forever grateful.”
We are devastated to learn of the passing of Alan Ladd Jr.
⁰Alan was a Hollywood maverick, a pioneer, and a dear friend to us at Lucasfilm, @ILMVFX, and @SkywalkerSound. He was in George’s corner in those early days, and his impact on @StarWars cannot be understated. pic.twitter.com/mlgC14YSQT
— Industrial Light & Magic (@ILMVFX) March 2, 2022
In addition to “Star Wars” Ladd also saw success through his own production company, The Ladd Company. This included films such as 1979’s “Alien,” 1982’s “Blade Runner” 1991’s “Thelma & Louise” and 1995’s “Braveheart.” His films have received over fifty Academy Awards.
When discussing his decision to back Lucas in J.W. Rinzler’s “The Making of Star Wars,” Ladd recalled the “emotional” opening to their first test screening.
“I am not very prone to emotions, but when the picture opened up and all of a sudden they just started applauding, the tears started rolling out of my eyes. That has never happened to me,” he recalled. “Then at the end of the picture, it kept going on, it wasn’t stopping — and I just never had experienced that kind of a reaction to any movie ever. Finally, when it was over, I had to get up and walk outside because of the tears.”
Mark Hamill Pays Tribute To Alan Ludd Jr.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 3, 2022
On Thursday, Mark Hamill paid tribute to Alan Ludd Jr., tweeting, “Among his countless achievements- he’s also the man who let George make #StarWars. 👍🙏#RIP_Laddie.”
Many fans also took to the comments to share their condolences for the late Ludd.
“He was the biggest advocate for #StarWars and the greatest producer to live. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏” one fan wrote. “It’s the greatest picture ever made.” Alan Ladd Jr. to the 20th Century Fox board during a heated exchange on the rising budget for Star Wars: A New Hope. #AlanLaddJr #StarWars #GeorgeLucas.”
“I just watched that doc,” another wrote. “He may not have really thought that, or understood SW at all, but he knew it was art that needed a chance to be made, despite huge budget overruns. Without those middlemen between art and business so much would be lost!”
“So many legends are passing,” another shared. “I hope they are remembered forever, and that new directors and producers are just as innovative, imaginative and trust enough to let great movies be made.”
“Without Laddie there would be no Star Wars. He didn’t understand what Star Wars was about, but he believed in me & supported my vision. Laddie took a great personal professional risk on Star Wars & on me; and for that I will be forever grateful.”
―George Lucas, on Alan Ladd, Jr. pic.twitter.com/uBBHpLu3g4
— Vaw51 (@Vaw511) March 3, 2022
RIP Laddie📽️🎞️ pic.twitter.com/NyG31L2Jjz
— Kimbee666 (@Kimbee6661) March 3, 2022
— 𝕁𝕒𝕟 𝕊𝕠𝕝𝕠 ن 🎬 🇺🇦 (@janS0L0) March 3, 2022